Before I went plant-based, I did not like vegetables. I ate veggies as a kid, but never really enjoyed them very much. In my 20s, the veggies I consumed were the odd side dish of broccoli or mixed frozen vegetables and lots of pre-packaged french fries. Even if you do not enjoy vegetables, there are many ways to prepare and serve them that will make them more appealing. Whether you’re embarking on a fully plant-based journey or just looking to incorporate more vegetables into your diet, these tips are for you!
1. Start where you are
It may seem pretty common sense that your starting point will be “where you are.” What I mean by this is that everyone will have a different starting point. I needed to start small and gradually incorporate more veggies over time. Be kind to yourself in the process. Start slowly if you’re just getting into eating more veggies. Begin with one or two of the tips below that will be easy for you to implement.
2. Start with vegetables you enjoy
Start by consuming vegetables that are familiar and that you already know and love. Potatoes were my favourite, so one of the first changes I made was to stop purchasing pre-bagged fries and started making my own oil free fries at home.
3. Sweet vegetables
Sweeter veggies can be a bit more palatable and easier to start with to ease your way into eating more bitter veggies. Some sweeter tasting vegetables are carrots, corn, and sweet potatoes.
Smoothies can be a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet – especially leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc..). Start with a small handful of greens and gradually adjust the ratios to increase the greens and decrease the fruit content. Cauliflower can also be added to smoothies and it won’t affect the flavour much.
Side note – smoothies are also a great place to add in flax or chia seeds for omega 3s. Check out the Nutrition Facts website for more info about omega 3s from plant-based sources: flax, and chia seeds.
5. Soups and stews
Making soups or stews is an easy way to add lots of veggies to your diet. Blended soups with a smooth texture can be a bit easier to start with if you’re not accustomed to eating vegetables. Chunky stews are also delicious. Check out our Cozy Vegetable Lentil Soup or pick any veggies and spices you enjoy to make a warm, nourishing meal.
6. Mix different types of vegetables together
It can be helpful to mix vegetables you enjoy with ones you’re not as fond of. Mixing chopped spinach into mashed potatoes is an easy way to get more greens without really noticing much of a change in flavour. Over time, you can gradually increase the amount of greens to really boost the nutrition.
7. Vegetable based sauces
Making sauces out of vegetables is an easy way to increase the vegetable content of your meal. Some of our favourites lately are Veggie Marinara Sauce (sauce can be blended for a smooth consistency if preferred), Vegan Queso from Derek at Simnett Nutrition, Vegan Cheese Sauce from Chuck at Brand New Vegan.
8. Use your favourite sauce or dressing
On a related note, eating veggies can be way more appealing when dipped into a yummy sauce or topped with a delicious dressing. Add hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, bbq sauce, or your favourite sauce or salad dressing to add different flavours to your veggies. We love the Sweet Heat dressing and Sriracha Chili Sauce from Well Your World.
Alternatively, you can also make your own simple sauces at home: Hummus and 3 Hummus Based Dressings or Whole Foods Garlicky Kale Salad from Krocks in the Kitchen are some of our current favourites.
9. Finely chopped veggies
When I first went plant-based, I was not accustomed to eating a lot of vegetables. I ate a lot of chili and pasta, and in the beginning I would chop the veggies very finely so that they were virtually undetectable.
10. Prepare in a new way
If you’re used to preparing your vegetables in a certain way, it can be fun to try preparing them in a new way to jazz up your meals. For example, steamed vegetables are delicious, but so are roasted veggies. Preparing vegetables in a different way can change the flavour and texture and enhance your enjoyment of vegetables depending on what preparation methods you prefer.
11. Veggies for breakfast
This may sound extreme if you’ve never tried it. This is not something I would have considered implementing in the beginning of my plant-based journey (unless it was greens in a smoothie). However, over time I have steadily increased the amount of veggies I consume, and have been eating veggies for breakfast daily for the last few months. I find that eating veggies for breakfast really sets the tone for the day and I really enjoy it!
Some easy ways to incorporate veggies into breakfast are:
- Green smoothies
- Baked steel cut oats or add mashed sweet potato or shredded veggies such as carrot or zucchini to your oatmeal
- Tofu scramble alongside potatoes and brussels sprouts (or any other veggies you enjoy)
- Sweet potato with broccoli
- Eat dinner leftovers
- Have a dish of a green vegetable before consuming the other portion of your meal – oats, toast, waffles, pancakes etc..
12. Keep vegetables in your home
It may seem pretty obvious, but sometimes it’s simply a matter of increasing the amount of vegetables you have on hand. Keep raw veggies chopped with your favourite dip or dressing for a tasty snack or a super salad. Prepare vegetables and have them ready to eat so you have them as a go-to snack or as part of your meal. When foods are prepared in advance it reduces decision-making and simplifies meal times.
13. Bonus tip: Try something new
Trying a new vegetable you’ve never eaten before can be really fun to experiment with. Find a new recipe with different veggies than you’re used to or buy a vegetable you’ve never tried before. You may be surprised at how much you enjoy your latest find!
Try to incorporate more vegetables into your day any way you can. Start where you are and build from there. I strongly disliked veggies in the past, but I absolutely love them now. It takes time for your palate to change, but if I can do it, you can do it too! I hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know if you have other tips or tricks that have helped you increase your vegetable intake.