If you’re still stuck in the broccoli-hating days of your youth when your mom would make you sit at the table until you finished it trust me.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
I still have trauma ngl.
Even though you are likely now old enough to throw that garbage away whenever you damn well please, it doesn’t mean you’re totally off the hook.
Eating enough fruits and vegetables are still a major problem in America, but they are especially important to those that weight train. This is because the antioxidants from fruits and vegetables can help with recovery and just clearing out the toxins and junk that make your body unhealthy.
Yes, sorry to break it to you, it’s not fit tea or apple cider vinegar that does that.
Even if you don’t train, vegetables for hunger control (due to fiber and bulk), fighting inflammation and just overall health is so important. So, what do you do if you just can’t stand vegetables?
Go Back to Your Childhood
What vegetables did you actually want to eat growing up? Potatoes? Peas? For me, I loved green beans and corn. So start with those!
The tricky thing is...it’s not advisable to just stick to the same old vegetables. You should switch up the type and color to make sure you’re getting a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
One way you can do this is by gradually adding in other vegetables that are new to you. If you are a broccoli lover, steam some cauliflower along with it. If you like cabbage, throw some bok choy into that pot along with it.
Also, change up your cooking method. Which brings me to my next point...
I used to despise brussels sprouts growing up. Ad nauseum. Literally to the point that I would retch and be filled with dread every time I smelled my mom cooking them as our dinner for the night.
But one reason they grossed me out so much is because my mom used to buy them frozen and boil them resulting in a very slimy, very unappealing, just nasty-beyond-all-reason plant.
So, into my adulthood I just had that stigma in my head that “brussels sprouts are gross.” You couldn’t pay me to eat the damn things.
It wasn’t until I tried crispy roasted brussels sprouts with bacon at a restaurant that my life was changed forever. After that, I went straight home to find a recipe to cook them just like that at home and now they’re one of my favorite vegetables to have as a side dish to a salmon dinner.
Eventually, I was able to stop adding bacon and enjoy the sprouts for what they are.
In general, drizzling almost any fresh vegetable (especially peppers and onions omg) with a little oil, sprinkling them with a bit of salt and roasting them can change the game for even the most stubborn vegetable hater.
This is because the slow heat brings out a deeper, richer flavor you may have never had before. Another trick I like is to saute asparagus and top it with one of my favorite sauces: A1 sauce.
No they aren’t sponsoring me. A1 is just super freaking tasty. It's also surprisingly low-calorie and goes great with almost any roasted vegetable.
If there’s a vegetable you think you hate, try looking up a recipe for that ingredient and make it into something that sounds delicious. You may surprise yourself!
So What About a Supplement?
If you’ve made it this far and I still haven’t convinced you.
If your childhood trauma is still causing you to dig in your heels on finding a way to start eating vegetables.
Then this is the only case I would recommend a supplement. When food isn’t enough.
Well, most of those “power greens” powders and other veggie pills you find in convenience stores are usually just powdered nonsense, peppered with the cheapest and most random nutrients you don’t really need to supplement with and maybe some probiotics thrown in to make the label sound healthier (it’s not).
Of course, I’m always going to advocate food first as a dietitian. Eating the whole plant gives you way more benefits than a powder because vegetables usually contain multiple nutrients, some of which cannot be isolated into a pill form. You also get the fiber and just overall satisfaction of having eaten something from eating your vegetables.
That said, I have met people who simply just. Cannot. Stomach. Vegetables. At least not in the amounts that are recommended for health. I once counseled a girl who would literally physically vomit every time she even tried.
So, if all of the above suggestions fail and you’re still struggling to get in 5-6 servings of vegetables daily, there are some veggie supplements that can fill the gaps of your diet. Legion Genesis is a good example of an effective supplement with compounds that are backed by science and with none of the artificial fillers you find in your generic store brand greens supplement.
Supplements like that are there just to make a green Instagram smoothie look beautiful and taste terrific despite having vEgETAblES.
That said, adding real vegetables to a smoothie aren't a bad idea either, especially if you have enough tasty other stuff like fruits and protein powder to mask the flavor. Kale, avocado, carrot, squash and cucumber are the safest options in terms of mild flavor.
The bottom line?
Like them or not, plants are mandatory to optimal health. And definitely vital to optimal athletic performance because of their role in fighting inflammation, keeping the digestive system healthy and providing a wide range of nutrients needed to sustain the high training needed for athletic performance.
They're also just good for everyone.
Just make sure you’re getting a wide range of colors. If you only eat green vegetables because that’s all you like, you’ll only get the phytonutrients green vegetables have to offer. Try a carrot every one in a while or snack on a red bell pepper. Your body will thank you for it!