Vegetables that will get eaten!
We all know that we should be eating more vegetables. For optimum health, the rules for eating are simple. As Michael Pollan puts it:"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
But many of us are not in the habit of eating a lot of veggies. Many of us grew up with meat as the focus of a meal, with potatoes and perhaps a salad on the side. Shifting our expectations so that the veggies are the main part of the meal, with the meat as a side dish, isn't easy - especially if we've grown up eating overcooked or badly cooked vegetables.
The good news is that fresh vegetables, cooked properly, are delicious! Forget about the pale canned peas you ate as a child. Colorful, vibrant, tasty veggies just beg to be eaten!
The most economical and healthy option is to choose what is seasonal and what is local.
If the only tomatoes in the store are hard pale pink balls, engineered to withstand a cross-country trip, then don't buy tomatoes! Wait until they are ripening in your area. They'll be bursting with taste, they'll be much better for you, and they'll cost less!
If zucchini are so plentiful in the fields that your local grocery store is almost giving them away, then buy zucchini! Even better, dig up your back yard and plant your own zucchini - or visit your local farmer's market and buy directly from the people who grew the food.
If it’s an option where you live, sign up for a fresh produce delivery service. I've used an organic delivery service, and it's the greatest thing! I never know what fruits and vegetables will be delivered - but I know they will be seasonal and local whenever possible. Opening the box is like opening a surprise present! My family is getting introduced to all sorts of produce that I never would have bought on my own. I think that organic produce delivery is a brilliant idea! Some services will deliver not only organic fruit and veggies but also organic milk, organic meat and other groceries - right to your door!
Are you wondering whether organic food is worth the extra cost? Visit
for all the facts about organic food.
If fresh local veggies aren't available, frozen veggies can be a good alternative. They are quick-frozen in such a way that most of the nutrients are preserved. They are easy to cook: just dump them in a pan of boiling water. (Read the package for details.) They are fairly economical, too - especially if you have a freezer and can stock up when there is a good sale.
Avoid frozen vegetables with sauce! They are full of unnecessary calories, preservatives and even sugar.
How to Prepare Fresh Vegetables
- Many fresh veggies are delicious raw. A plate of carrot sticks, cucumber rounds, sweet pepper strips and cherry tomatoes makes a colorful and tasty after school snack.
- My favorite way to cook most vegetables is steaming. Steaming is quick and easy, and most of the vitamins stay in the food rather than being lost in the cooking water.
The goal is to make veggie preparation so easy that you don't mind doing it. The more veggies you serve, the more your family will eat.
Here's how to cook some of my favorite vegetables.
Also called "cole crops", cruciferous veggies, or the cabbage family, these are hugely nutritious. If you know how to cook them properly, they can also be delicious!
- Brussels Sprouts
are wonderful if cooked correctly. They are a favorite of ours at Christmastime.
- Cabbage is tasty raw, in
It's also good cooked, as in this recipe for
Sweet And Sour Cabbage and Onions.
- Kale is a dark leafy green that is incredibly nutritious. You can eat it raw in salads, sauté it in garlic butter, or put it in soups or stews. My family loves to eat
as a snack.
- Swiss Chard is another nutritious green. I sneak it into
or sauté it in garlic butter.
Potatoes are so versatile that they deserve a couple of pages of their own!
my favorite ways to cook potatoes,
and here are some of
my favorite potato recipes.
For even more potato ideas, check out this
searchable site of the world's best potato recipes.
"Winter Squash" are simply squash that can be stored for some length of time.
You can cook most types of winter squash by simply cutting the squash in half, removing the seeds, and placing the squash face down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake at 350F/180C until soft.
If you want to get a bit fancier, try one of these recipes.
Like their distant relative the potato, sweet potatoes are very versatile. Here are my favorite ways to eat them.
Visit this page
for a concise explanation of the differences between yellow sweet potatoes, orange sweet potatoes and yams.
Need still more ideas for getting your children to eat vegetables? Check out this collection of "hidden vegetable recipes" at
Kids Meal Ideas.
Home from vegetables to healthy quick meals.