Not a vegetable lover? You’re not alone. Only 10% of people in the U.S. eat the recommended amount, which is 4½ cups a day.
If you don't like one vegetable, that doesn't mean you won't like a different one. The more you try a vegetable, the more chance you have of liking it. So, keep trying.
Here are some creative ways to get more vegetables into your meals and snacks.
Shred. Vegetables that can be easily shredded, such as zucchini, beets, carrots or parsnips, can be added to whole-grain muffins, pancakes, soups, stir-fries, pasta sauce and casseroles. These sneaky vegetables boost flavor, texture and nutrition, often without anyone knowing they’re there. Use a box grater, hand grater or food processor to shred vegetables. Or, for convenience, look for bags of pre-shredded produce in the grocery store.
Swap. Mushrooms add a savory flavor and texture, especially to meats, along with added nutrients. Replace half the amount of ground beef or turkey for burgers, meatloaf and meatballs with cooked chopped mushrooms. Here’s how: First, finely chop the mushrooms. Next, heat a small amount of olive oil over medium heat and cook the mushrooms for 3 minutes, or until soft. Once they have cooled, gently mix them with your ground meat. Continue with your recipe.
Puree. Cook and puree orange vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots to add to cheesy dishes, such as macaroni and cheese, lasagna, or baked enchiladas. Simply replace half of the cheese with the pureed vegetables to help reduce some of the saturated fat and sodium found in your meal. It’s that easy. To make a smooth, flavorful and filling soup, process the vegetables with some fat-free, low-sodium broth in a food processor or a blender until smooth.
Blend. You can load lots of fruit and vegetables into delicious and refreshing smoothies. Start with adding frozen fruit, such as sliced banana, berries, cubed melon and chopped mango into a food processor or blender. Next, add some vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and cooked carrot rounds or chopped squash. Then, add a few splashes of fat-free/low-fat milk, a few dollops of plain yogurt and/or a splash of juice or water. Put in some freshly grated gingerroot or ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ice cubes. Process until smooth. Experiment with different fruits and vegetables to make many delicious combinations.