Here at the Lafayette Family YMCA, we understand that eating vegetables can be a miserable experience for many people (especially kids!). Vegetables are raw, watery, crunchy, and can have an acquired taste, which makes it even harder to eat them even though we know that vegetables are an important aspect of maintaining a healthy diet. Eating vegetables is not easy — it’s difficult knowing exactly which ones to pick up and it’s also tricky figuring out how to cook particular vegetables with so many preparation styles.
There are plenty of ways to make vegetable consumption an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Cooking vegetables can be a simple and delicious experience with some of these healthy and delicious vegetable-filled options.
For all of you who don’t want to forget to eat your carbohydrates while eating vegetables, we have you covered. Take raw or cooked veggies in any style and throw them in with your rice. There are no strict rules to making rice bowls — Add spices, hot sauce, salsa, guacamole, beans, cheese, chicken, or anything else that you would enjoy with your rice and veggies and dig in!
When in doubt, turn to the classical art of sandwich-making. Add your veggies (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers, pickes, etc.) and then add anything else you would like: meat, cheese, hummus, etc. Sandwiches are a very safe bet because if you don’t like something, you can just take it out!
Soups Bisques and Chowders
Blended or whole, vegetables go wonderfully in soups, bisques (thicker, smoother soups) and chowders (thicker, chunkier soups). Add corn, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, garlic, chicken, and anything else you think sounds delicious! Combined with other, aromatic ingredients, you won’t even remember that vegetables are partially responsible for creating that delicious-smelling steam coming from the stove. To get you started, we have added a link to a Martha Stewart vegetable chowder.
Soy sauce makes everything better, even vegetables. Add some veggies to a pan of hot oil and let the veggies cook. Then add your soy sauce and any other ingredients for the sauce and let the mixture combine into deliciousness. By the time your vegetables are sizzling in that soy sauce in the pan, you’ll be ready to scarf down that scrumptious meal before it is even done cooking! Here is a delicious vegetable stir fry recipe to try out! If desired, pour it over some rice or noodles.
Interested in a spicier flare to your meal? Try a curry dish! Add Eastern spices, curry powder, or curry pastes to your vegetables, and voila! Smooth, spicy, and rich, you’ll be extremely full before you can even remember that you just ate a plate filled with vegetables. Here’s a recipe that demonstrates how to make even cabbage extremely exciting and tasty!
Do you love pasta? Then trying vegetable noodles may be an option for you. You can now easily create and eat vegetable noodles with the assistance of a spiralizer, a device that turns your raw vegetables into noodles. After spiralizing those vegetables, cook up the veggie noodles in hot oil and water until softened, add anything you usually add to your pasta (or any other type of noodle dish), and you’re good to go!
Egg Melts and Egg Scrambles
Throw an over-easy egg over your cooked vegetables or mix vegetables in with your scrambled eggs. This is a terrific way to get nutrients from your vegetables while getting protein from the eggs at the same time. You’ll definitely feel content after this super healthy meal. The combination of eggs and vegetables has it all.
Veggies and Dip
Instead of snacking on junk food, making a nutritious vegetable dip or hummus and dipping raw vegetables into it will give you a guilt-free snacking-fest as well as an opportunity to snack on veggies without experiencing too much veggie-inspired agony. Veg-out!
If you have never hollowed out a green or red bell pepper and stuffed it with other food, then maybe it is time to give this delicious style of eating vegetables a try. Spicy or cheesy, stuffed peppers are always a delight. Red peppers, green peppers, or any peppers, really — all of them can be stuffed with anything in your refrigerator or in your pantry, including a vegetables, cheeses, meats, spices, etc. Enjoy the creativity and the challenge of constructing the perfect stuffed pepper (with vegetables). And don’t forget — peppers are vegetables as well. Bonus points. Here’s another recipe to get you started.
Before we attack salad for being on this list, let’s give it one last chance. Instead of eating a salad with big chunks of vegetables and a thin dressing that does nothing to cover the taste of the vegetables, let’s reinvent the classic salad. Cut the vegetables into tiny pieces, and then mix in hummus and olive oil and feta cheese. Or we can even add creamy avocado to the mix. By adding fun foods to the mix, even salad doesn’t have to be painful anymore.
The Lafayette Family YMCA wants to help you reach your New Year’s fitness and nutrition goals, and we want you to know that it can be an enjoyable and a pleasant experience. Give these foods a try and, at long last, you can also live “vegetabley ever after”.