Overcome These Common Barriers to Eating Veggies During National Fruit and Veggies Month
Vegetables are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Their vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds can help prevent chronic disease. And a diet rich in veggies can also help you maintain a healthy weight. Yet, most people don’t eat enough. Here are some common barriers that get in the way of eating more veggies and how to overcome them.
- I can’t afford them. Fresh veggies can be expensive, but there are ways to buy them for less. Stick to what’s seasonal and on sale each week. Skipping the pre-packaged, pre-cut veggies and preparing your own helps, too. Frozen veggies are also an option. Just make sure to choose varieties without added ingredients, like butter or salt. And you don’t need to buy organic if you can’t afford to.
- I don’t like how they taste. It takes a while to get used to new flavors, but don’t give up. Try pairing raw vegetables with a healthy dip, like low-fat ranch or hummus. Throw chopped vegetables in fresh salads. Experiment with different ways of cooking or preparing them. You can steam, grill, sauté, or roast veggies for a different flavor profile. Pairing vegetables with certain foods can transform the taste as well.
- I don’t think about eating them. Wash and cut vegetables like celery sticks, red bell peppers, carrots, yellow squash, radishes, and jicama. Seal them in baggies or clear containers and place them front and center in your fridge. Reach for them whenever you need a quick snack. And try to make a habit to have at least one vegetable with each meal.
- I don’t know what to buy. Look online to find a monthly list of seasonal vegetables in your area. These tend to be the freshest and the least expensive. A trip to a nearby farmer’s market is a fun way to find local veggies, too. You can also just pick something that you see in the grocery store and try it to see if you like it. Or look for a vegetable that you’ve tried at a restaurant—and liked.
- I don’t know how to prepare them. Broccoli, squash, cauliflower, and carrots can be washed and steamed in six minutes. Flavor with olive oil and seasonings. You can also check your local library for cookbooks that focus on vegetables or visit one of the many websites that do. Ask family and friends for favorite recipes that feature vegetables. And many sellers at farmers’ markets are happy to share ideas for preparing and cooking what they sell.
Are you ready to add more vegetables to your diet? September is national Fruits and Veggies—More Matters month. So try to experiment with veggies this month. You just may discover how nutritious—and delicious—they are.