Healthy Tip #3 – Hide those veggies

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I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Because of the holiday weekend I did not post a Friday blog, but I’m back with another healthy living tip.

I know that vegetables are good for you, we all do, but I honestly don’t like very many veggies. If you are anything like me, or you have children or a picky spouse, then it can be difficult to get a steady source of vegetables in your family’s diet. Perhaps you are lucky enough to love vegetables naturally, or to have a family who loves vegetables, but I have no such luck.

The truth is that most of the US population does not get the necessary fruit and vegetable intake, and when they do eat vegetables there isn’t much variety or much green. We eat a lot of potatoes, corn and carrots but not many dark leafy greens or other brightly colored vegetables. How can you remedy this when you legitimately don’t enjoy many vegetables?

Two things:

Firstly, the more you eat vegetables and other real foods and avoid processed foods the more you will like vegetables. Seriously. This has proven very true for myself. When my tastebuds are not inundated with fake chemicals, fats and refined sugars I begin to appreciate the nuances of flavors in vegetables.

Still, even with a greater appreciation of vegetables I rarely want to sit and munch on a plate of sugar snap peas and kale. So, what do I do instead?

Point number two: Hide the veggies! Yep, hide em… in food that is.

I am always experimenting with the addition of different veggies in comfort foods. It’s easier than you might think. The list of possibilities is endless.

I’ll give you some of my favorite “hidden veggies”, but I encourage you to experiment on your own.

–          Cauliflower in anything cream or cheese based. Cook it, puree it, and it blends right in. My hubby can’t stand cauliflower on it’s own at all, but will eat it when I hide it this way. Our personal favorite is cauliflower mac and cheese.

–          Spinach (or other leafy greens) in sauce. You can throw a huge handful or two of spinach in sauce and it shrivels up and no longer tastes much like spinach (cut it in smaller pieces if your family doesn’t like the occasional large slimy piece).

–          Extra bell pepper or zucchini in anything tomato based. For some reason I don’t think you can really taste small bits of these veggies when tomato is the primary flavor.

–          Save the water from steaming or boiling veggies and add it to savory recipes that call for liquid additions (easy way to add more veggie nutrients).

–          Soak and scrub your veggies well and use the skin in the recipes. It’s more bang for your buck. A lot of the nutrients are lost when you get rid of the skin.

–          When cooking meat in nearly any manner, cook squash, peppers, onions etc right along with it. Nothing makes veggies taste better than a lovely meat flavor with it. Also, our bodies can use a lot of the nutrients better with a bit of fat (like animal fat) to help digestion.

–          Add pureed mushrooms to ground beef for tacos or burgers.

–         Put veggies in a fruit smoothie. Veggies like carrots are very sweet and blend well. Yellow pepper has a great punch that goes well with ginger and pear.

–          In general, any veggie pureed small enough will probably blend into most meals (casseroles, sauces, fillings etc).

When experimenting just think of the overall flavor profile of the meal and try for something along those lines. Eating something spicy, add a stronger veggie like bell peppers. Something mild, add a mild vegetable like cauliflower, potato or squash.

Have fun experimenting and share some of your favorite “hidden veggie” tricks.

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