Find Your Gateway Vegetable

“Eat your veggies” is either a blessing or curse depending on how you remember it. Our parents did their best to implore us to eat our vegetables because they are so good for us. However, according to the CDC, only 10% of Americans are eating the recommended amount of vegetables per week. The “eat your veggies” battle cry is not working.

Vegetables are very dense in nutrients. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and a host of things to keep you healthy. Pick any vegetable and you can write a list of the things it contains that are good for you.

Vegetables also fill you up. They contain fiber and water and make you feel satisfied faster. For people with a big appetite, vegetables are a great food to substitute for burgers and fries. A 500-calorie salad is actually a huge amount of food.

Vegetables are also delicious. You can blend vegetables with so many different foods. Scrambled eggs are good, but add a little onion, tomato and mushroom and you have turned your meal into a work of art.

How do you become a regular vegetable eater?

One way to do it is to find your gateway vegetable. It is one vegetable that you really like and are willing to eat. Once you build this vegetable into your diet, you can start with a second vegetable. And a third and fourth and so on.

First, find your favorite vegetable.  If you already know your favorite vegetable things are easy. Head down to the store and buy it. If you do not know your favorite vegetable, try a few different vegetables. Try beets, asparagus, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bell peppers, carrots, and cauliflower. You can also try cooking things with vegetables.  Add mushrooms, onions, peas, and tomatoes to your dishes.

Commit to trying new vegetables either in a salad or cooked in a dish.  Spend some time until you find the one vegetable that works best for you. When you find it, figure out different ways to incorporate the vegetable into your meals. Do not eat it all the time. If you like carrots, you do not want to eat carrots every day.  You will tire of them in a few weeks and you will be back where you started.

The key it to integrate your favorite vegetable into your meals.  When you have done that, select a second vegetable. Integrate it into your meals the same way.  Take your time. Keep working vegetables into your diet until you have a variety of vegetables you can eat every day.

Photo credit: statelinekids.com

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