Well after learning about the many disease-prevention and anti-aging/skin benefits associated with eating veggies, especially dark, leafy greens; I decided it was time to start eating more of these foods. After all…there had to be one or two I liked right? I also want to note that my kids are getting older now and they need to start learning healthy eating habits. Children learn best by following their parents’ example; so if I wasn’t eating my veggies I knew there was no way I could expect or make my kids eat them.
It wasn’t the vegetables I didn’t like…it was how they were prepared.
After reading some great books and learning some simple vegetable preparation and seasoning techniques from my husband (who is a chef), I realized that I actually love vegetables. I have yet to try one that I don’t like. The problem was that I had never had them prepared, cooked, or seasoned properly. By eating them raw, steamed, or lightly sautéed, you not only retain the flavor and texture, you also retain the nutritional value of the food. Overcooked mushy veggies with no color or texture not only taste yucky but also have almost none of their nutrients left intact. There really is no point in eating poorly prepared, overcooked veggies.
|Part of my ongoing condiment collection|
Make trying new things fun!
I also decided to make my vegetable trying experience a little more fun by adding in the element of surprise. I signed up for a weekly fresh, organic mixed produce delivery from a local co-op at the advice of my friend Natalie. You can preview the “menu” every week and make substitutions if you feel you must, but I prefer not to make substitutions unless one of the selections is something I already have a lot of (like tomatoes, which I grow). Instead, I will try to make veggie dishes with whatever comes in that box whether I am familiar with it or not and whether I think I like it or not. Everything I have gotten has been delicious and fresh with no bruises or other damage so as soon as I open that box I feel inspired. It’s like my own personal episode of Chopped in my own home. So far I have made some delicious warm and cold salads, veggie stir fry dishes, and soups with my weekly mystery ingredients.
Wait, isn’t a produce delivery expensive?
|My produce delivery "mystery box"|
After analyzing how much I spend on organic produce at my local health food stores, it really ends up being about the same amount. The difference is that I don’t have to go to the store (big bonus…shopping with two kids in tow is rarely a fun experience), and everything is fresh. That means no inspecting each piece of fruit or vegetable for bruises or wilting. The majority of the selections are not only organic, but also local. That makes a big difference because the fresher the food, the more nutrients it will give you. Anything that is not local, like bananas which cannot be grown locally, are organic and fair trade. The only thing I find myself needing to buy more of at the health food store are salad and dark leafy greens since I go through them so quickly because drink green smoothies every morning and I eat a salad before every meal.
The health benefits are immeasurable…
Consuming large amounts of fresh, organic vegetables (and fruit too) on a daily basis provides you with many of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to heal itself, fend off bacterial and viral infections, and maintain its optimal weight. By incorporating more fresh vegetables into your daily diet, you are also increasing hydration, and reducing the amount of acid in your body, which in turn will help reduce the inflammation in your body. This can help reduce acne, as well as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis flare-ups. The nutrients you get from these plant foods are more bioavailable than those you would get from supplements as well, meaning they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body. If you get the majority of your nutrients from food sources, you spend less money on expensive supplements.
Change it up
We all get stuck in food ruts from time to time, where we feel like we are cooking and eating the same types of foods all the time. This happens for many reasons: convenience, comfort level, cooking ability, tradition, etc.; but it is not healthy to keep eating the same things all the time. Eating should be a fun and even adventurous experience for you and for your kids. Even the pickiest eaters will learn by example. My younger daughter never would eat vegetables for the longest time, but once the majority of what I ate became plant foods, she eventually started asking to try them. Now she eats green salads, broccoli, carrots, and cucumbers voluntarily and regularly.
I learned in one of my IIN classes that a great way to encourage kids to try new foods is to have a selection of their favorite condiments and seasonings on the table. Who cares if they dip their broccoli in ketchup (organic of course) before they eat it? At least they are eating it and they are aware that they are eating it.
I don’t agree with those cookbooks that “hide” vegetables in other cooked and baked foods and desserts because that is not teaching kids anything about vegetables or how good they can taste when prepared and seasoned properly. Plus, you run the risk of cooking out all the nutrients, which negates the whole idea. I also feel that it is dishonest, misleading, and insulting to the child’s intelligence. So present them the actual vegetables in a way that is fun, flavorful, and colorful and teach them about how healthy they are as they enjoy trying new things.
Tip: store your veggies in those green produce bags…they last much longer!
And the Winner is...
Last night I randomly selected one Holistically Haute™ site member to win a fun prize. The winner is Charlotte Meyer, who will receive a Holistically Haute™ mug filled with samples! Charlotte, email your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
Want to be eligible for the next prize drawing? Click on the "B" (Blogger logo) in the right sidebar of any page on this site to follow/become a member of Holistically Haute™. Want your very own HH mug or other official HH merchandise? You can get one at the official HH logo online store.