If the sight of a plate of broccoli makes you gag, this post
is for you!
We’ll turn any “Veggie Hater” into a “Vegetable Lover”
by showing you how to make a plate full of greens not taste like a
wet gym sock (don’t ask “Steve, how do you know what a wet gym
sock tastes like?”).
If you’ve been a picky eater your whole life – like I was -,
our guide today will help level up your taste buds.
- Why You
Should Eat Vegetables (Your Mom Was Right)
to Start Eating Vegetables (Finding Your Gateway Veggie)
to Buy Vegetables (Discovering New Veggies)
- How to Make
Vegetables Taste Good (Hide Them)
- How to
Start Liking Vegetables (It’s All in the Preparation)
- What Are the
Best-Tasting Vegetables? (the NF Veggie Challenge)
By the end of today, I’m going to have you excited to eat
vegetables, and ready to take the NF Veggie Challenge.
If you’re someone who doesn’t eat vegetables because you
don’t like them, don’t know how to buy them, or don’t know
how to make them, this article is for you. We’re going to change
Because this is what we do!
We help people like you lose weight and get healthy without
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one you can actually stick with!
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You’ve probably been told since you were a toddler to
“Eat your vegetables! They’re good for you.”
Do you really know WHY they’re good for you? Let me jump into
a few reasons why vegetables kick ass.
1) Vegetables are nutrient dense. It should
be no surprise that Popeye turned to
a vegetable when he needed a powerup. Think of
vegetables as one of our body’s most efficient fuel
sources: they are packed full of vital macro
and micronutrients. Just take a look at
our article on how to eat healthy on a budget – it should be
no surprise that vegetables are an important part of efficiently
eating healthy! Simply put: vegetables are the backbone of any
2) They fill you up, without “filling you
up.” Ever seen what 200 calories worth of broccoli
looks like? It’s the size of a grocery bag compared to
200 calories of a
doughnut or other treats. If you are feeling hungry but
don’t want to overeat, choose a vegetable. Kind of hard to
overeat when you’re eating carrots or celery!
3) Veggies keep your body operating at max
efficiency! Vegetables are a great way to keep
your…um…indoor plumbing…functioning properly. Adding a
vegetable or two to each meal is a great way to keep things working
right! Seriously: if you’re someone who doesn’t eat many
veggies, you will notice a considerable difference after adding
veggies to your diet regularly.
4) They can be delicious! Sure, a point of
debate…but as a former veggie hater, I am now firmly on Team
Vegetable. A plate full of veggies used to make me want to gag, and
now I’m thrilled at the idea of a plate covered in a cornucopia
(what a great word, right?) of multicolored plants
“Ok,” you might be thinking, “I know they’re good for
me, but I don’t eat them. Help me!” Okay, okay fine.
Here’s how you can get over your vegetable-aversion and get
When I was 22 I proudly proclaimed that I was a
“carnivore” and boycotted veggies. Essentially, I ate
things like chicken, hamburgers, pizza, pasta, french fries, rice,
and not much else.
One day, I decided “I’m an adult, I should probably eat
like one.” In my mind, all vegetables were disgusting, but the
reality was that I hadn’t really tried many different kinds.
Instead I tried a few and just assumed they were all bad.
So, for starters: stop saying you hate all
vegetables. Instead: you simply haven’t found a
vegetable that you LIKE yet.
I started trying teeny tiny bits of vegetables. If I went out to
dinner with friends, I would ask to try some veggies off of their
plate. Once I got over the idea, I would order a new vegetable each
visit and give it a shot.
I experimented with new vegetables for two
- Trying any vegetable, even if I only ate a small amount and
hated it, would still be considered a victory!
- If I found a vegetable I DID like, I could learn to prepare it
the same way and eat more at home.
On top of that, I simply forced myself to go into any
new vegetable with an open mind and positive
mindset. It’s amazing what positive or negative
expectations can do to convince ourselves. So, instead of thinking
“this is gross,” say “this is what I eat and it’s good.”
Sounds a bit hokey, but it works.
My gateway vegetable: asparagus. I bought some
asparagus at the store, put them on a cookie sheet lined with
tinfoil, covered them in olive oil, salt, pepper, and stuck them in
the oven (at 375 degrees F) for 12 minutes. BAM! Crunchy,
delicious, and nutritious. Plus, I felt like a 5 star chef!
For my first year as an omnivore, asparagus was the only
vegetable I ate. I didn’t branch out too much beyond
this, but at least I had found one that I liked. Once I had gotten
over the mental barrier that “all vegetables are gross,” it was
time for me to branch out.
YOUR MISSION: Find your gateway vegetable. (We’ll be
giving you some great options later in the article.)
Suck it up, take one bite of many different kinds of veggies,
and see which ones you actually enjoy.
Before each bite, clear your mind, Neo. Stop going into each
veggie encounter expecting to hate it! You never know when things
Many people think in order to eat a “Paleo
Diet” you’ll need to eat dozens of veggies everyday, but
almost everyone starts just like I did – with only one or two
gateway vegetables and slowly branches out from there. Our free
download on the Paleo Diet helps show you that it isn’t nearly as
complicated as some people can make it out to be.
- Discover if Paleo is for you
- The one simple trick to know if your food is
- Easy Paleo recipes for beginners to get you started
First and foremost, buying vegetables can be
- How can I tell if a vegetable is fresh or not?
- How long can I leave the vegetable in my fridge before it goes
- Which ones do I get?
For starters, here are just some of the vegetables that are Nerd
Fitness approved. The next time you go to a supermarket, your
mission is to pick ONE of these 24 vegetables and bring it home
- bok choy
- collard greens
- romaine lettuce
- brussels sprouts
- green peppers
- acorn squash
- butternut squash
- red peppers
Notice: we’re not counting tubers (potatoes
and sweet potatoes) or legumes (beans) on this list – technically
they’re veggies, but for the purposes of this article we’re
aiming for low calorie, nutrient dense options to start.
wonderful guide on how to select fresh and tasty veggies at the
Once you’ve bought your veggies, use StillTasty.com, to
figure out how long you can leave them in my fridge.
If you really want to make it easy, buy a bag of “Steam
Fresh” vegetables – most of these only require you throwing
the bag into the microwave, opening it, and putting it on your
As a last resort, check out canned vegetables! They might not be
as fresh as regular veggies, and there might be preservatives added
to keep them from going bad, but I’d prefer you eating canned
vegetables to no vegetables at all!
Once I got my “gateway vegetable,” I stopped telling
myself that I hated vegetables, and became more likely to
try other vegetables.
However, I still didn’t love the taste of many veggies, which
presented a problem.
The solution? “Mask” the taste and texture
by hiding the vegetables in other foods until I became accustomed
to the taste.
I started adding vegetables to everything in ways that
didn’t make me taste veggies:
1) Add frozen spinach or kale to your
smoothies. I make a post-workout smoothie with fruit and
protein and realized that other than giving my drink a greenish
tint, the taste was unchanged. Cheap too: a bag of frozen spinach
is like 2 bucks at most grocery stores.I continued adding more and
more spinach each time until it changed the taste too much.
That’s one daily serving of a super veggie without even
2) Add veggies to your omelets! I’m not a
breakfast person (Intermittent
Fasting ftw!), but if you’re
making omelets, try adding different vegetables to your omelets
each time and see which ones don’t change the taste. Plus, who
says you can only eat omelets for breakfast? They make a great
dinner meal too.
3) Eat a small bite of a veggie with something you
actually like. When I started cooking chicken
stir fry, I made sure that every bite of delicious grilled
chicken was paired with part of a vegetable.
Here are some ideas to try to squeeze in some extra veggies with
every mouthful of food:
- a single broccoli crown and chicken.
- a chunk of grilled onions and chicken.
- rice, a wedge of zucchini, and steak.
- a slice of asparagus, and salmon.
- a wedge of sweet potato and peppers.
- steak, onions, and
Take something you enjoy eating, and add some vegetable on the
5) Try making carrot fries. These things taste
like sweet potato fries, but they’re made of carrots. Cut
some carrots into fry shapes, toss them in olive oil, put them on
a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast them in the
oven at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Ta da!
6) Try zucchini “noodles” – (here’s how to
7) Hide some veggies in a casserole (like
paleo shepherd’s pie) – when they’re mixed in
with other stuff you like, it makes them easier to eat. If you
aren’t a fan of big hunks of veggies in your bites of food, chop
them up really small before cooking. This way they’re less
8) Add greens like spinach, chard, or kale to your paleo
9) Add kale to
10) Hide vegetables IN your
burgers (here’s a turkey burger with spinach in it).
All of the above examples accomplish the same
goal: getting more vegetables into your system. This makes
your stomach happy, your mother happy, and Popeye happy.
“Okay Steve, just give me some
I hear ya: When I first considered eating veggies, I just wanted
ONE simple recipe I could follow along, cook, and actually
I realized that vegetables can taste completely different
depending on how they’re prepared. Once I was able to learn one
way to prepare a vegetable that I actually enjoyed, the kitchen was
no longer a scary place!
With some help from our NF Rebel Chef, Noel, here are
some easy and delicious options for getting started with your first
1) Steamed broccoli: I’m not a fan of raw
broccoli, but steamed broccoli? Sign me up! Steamfresh
veggies come in a package that you can throw in the microwave for
five minutes, add seasoning, and that’s it. Add butter or any
seasoning, and eat it with a protein for a balanced meal!
If you’ve bought fresh broccoli and you want to steam it
yourself, you can do it in the microwave or on the stove.
To steam broccoli on the stove:
- Plop about a 1/2 cup of water in the bottom of a pot
- Separating the broccoli florets from the stem
- Plop them in the water and cook over medium heat for 10-15
Don’t want to use the stove? You can also steam broccoli
yourself in the microwave:
- Plop those florets (the “tree” minus the “trunk”) in a
microwave safe bowl with a few tablespoons of water
- Cover with a microwave safe lid or dish
- Cook for 3-4 minutes. If the broccoli isn’t soft and warm,
put it back in for a minute or two
2) Roasted veggies (bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots,
onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.): Roasted
veggies can taste very different from steamed and raw veggies
(they get crispier and a little sweeter because they caramelize in
the oven). Take your pick of vegetable: bell peppers, tomatoes,
carrots, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, etc.
Here’s how you make roasted veggies:
- Cut them up literally however you want
- Drizzle/toss them toss in olive oil, sprinkle salt and
- Put them on a foil lined pan in the oven at 400 degrees F (200
degrees C) for 20-30 minutes
- Don’t overthink this: You can use more olive oil or use less.
You can use more salt or use less. Just cut them up, drizzle, and
plop them in!
Asparagus was (and still is) my go-to veggie. It’s what started
it all. Simply chop off the ends of your asparagus and coat it in
olive oil. Feel free to add salt, paprika, or whatever seasoning
you enjoy. Plop in the oven at 375 degrees F (205 degrees C) for
10-15 minutes, and enjoy!
4) Sautéed zucchini and squash. Zucchini and
squash both taste great with just a little oil and salt, and are
super easy to prepare.
You can choose to slice
them up into..
Source: FS – All-FitnessBlogs
How to Make Vegetables Taste Good: Start Eating Veggies Today!