Many of us have the same memory: sitting before a plate heaped with something green and often slimy-a necessary evil to choke down if we were to get dessert or in some cases, just be allowed to leave the table. Suffering still from these traumatic associations, many of us remain prejudiced against anything resembling a vegetable in spite of the widespread knowledge of the health benefits they offer. The truth is, though, no matter how you feel about vegetables, you need them, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 26 percent of adults surveyed eat veggies three or more times a day. This is even less than the recommended four servings of vegetables and three servings of fruit that we should be getting.
So, what is a responsible adult to do? There's good news: not all vegetables are disgusting. In fact, when prepared correctly, most of them are actually tasty. Some are tasty without being prepared at all.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to eating more fruits and vegetables is time. They take time to fix, time to eat, and sure, it's a lot easier to drive through a window and get some cheap meat and carbs in a sack than it is to prepare your own meal. If it really is more a matter of convenience for you than distaste, you're in luck. Many fruits and vegetables don't even have to be refrigerated. Keep a bowl of apples, oranges, and bananas on your table. Many times, when you're searching for a snack, having the best option within easy reach will influence your eating habits. For the ones that do need to be kept in the fridge, don't just leave them to wither in the nether regions of the crisper. Keep cherry tomatoes, grapes, carrots, and celery on a shelf at eye level. Have them washed, cut, and ready to go for a take-along snack if needed.
Preparation doesn't need to be a hassle, either. There are lots of canned vegetables that are already seasoned. All that's required is that you heat them up. Be a little careful of these, though if you're watching your diet for sodium or additives. Some brands are far more nutritious than others. An even better alternative to cans is frozen vegetables and fruit. Frozen veggies just take a little heat, and frozen berries and other fruits are delicious as is for a quick dessert. You can also make smoothies with them for a great breakfast or snack.
If all else fails, try to sneak them in to your recipes. As the cook, you'll know they're there, but as the person eating it, you may be able to forget. Put extra vegetables in to your soups many times, these are disguised by mixing with other flavors. Layer them in salads. Find a dressing you like and you'll be more likely to eat things you wouldn't otherwise. Make sure you add some romaine or other darker lettuce to your sandwiches along with some tomatoes or even shredded carrots. Zucchini bread makes a great breakfast and it's a great way to start your day with some vitamins.
So, if you need more fruits or vegetables in your diet, it's time to ignore your inner child and get with the program. You may even find out you like it after all.