If you are like me, you have a “just fine” relationship with vegetables. By “just fine,” of course, I mean that you’d be willing to go on a polite date with vegetables, listen to the boring stories vegetables tell and even laugh at vegetables’ jokes, and have a perfectly fine evening with vegetables because you know vegetables are good for you, but the whole time you are eyeing that saucy creme brûlée at the next table, or that salty, greasy bad-boy bag of chips that your friend is with.
And, if you’re like me, this isn’t just the case for yourself, but for your whole family as well. Let’s face it — at snack time, who wants to reach for a handful of carrots when there is a bag of delicious salt and vinegar chips in the cupboard? Of course the obvious answer is that you should not purchase the chips in the first place, but life is short, so instead of smack-talking chips, let’s fix that relationship with veggies.
1. Whenever possible, make the vegetables room temperature before you eat them. When you want a snack, you never want something freezing that you have just pulled from the fridge. A cookie or chip is more appealing on one hand simply because it’s not freezing cold. How I solve this is by leaving stuff on the counter whenever I can. Some veggies are actually not even supposed to be refrigerated, like avocados, and tomatoes. A handful of room-temp toms is way more eat-able than a handful of freezing cold ones, you will find. Plus if they’re on the counter then you can see them and remember that, oh yeah, eating is fun and these are right here, so that’s easy. If you REALLY want to put everything in the fridge, then just make sure you leave it out on the counter for 15 mins before you eat it to take the chill off.
2. Cut a bunch of veggies up and stick them in ziploc bags for easy grab and eat. If we’re talking something that has the potential to get slimy, like peppers, then just throw a paper towel in there with them, son! These can also be tossed in kid lunches! Success as a parent is only a few chops away!
3. Sprinkle cut up veggies around the counter, so it’s like a fun treasure hunt to find them and eat them, and also you are cleaning up your counters, so you are #winning on multiple levels. The “vegetable treasure hunt” works on kids as well, and even on husband.
4. Dip. For a dark period in my life I decided I “preferred” cold, cut up veggies with no dip. As I have aged and matured, I have realized that the reason I gave up dip was not about dip as a whole at all — the problem was the type of dip I was eating. When you get dip, you have to get aMAZing dip. Like dip whose foundation is creme cheese and rainbows, or some kind of amazingly flavourful, thick ranchy-type deal, or some good flavour of hummus, if you’re into that sort of thing. The thing is, if veggies are a punishment, nobody is going to want them. But if vegetables mean that you can break out your amazing new DIP that you just got, then boom.
5. Buy pre-washed, pre-cut vegetables. Because cutting and washing is one of the worst parts. Especially get things that really suck to wash, like lettuce and spinach, or broccoli florets. You will use them more if you don’t have to wash them.
6. Cheese. Cheese and vegetables is a match made in heaven, and don’t you forget it. Why insult yourself and your family by serving broccoli without cheese sauce? You say you tossed them in soy sauce and sesame seeds? Please. Serving steamed broccoli without cheese sauce is like serving up a hot slap in the face. Here’s an easy cheese sauce recipe to save you further embarrassment: 1. Heat a cup of milk in a small saucepan on the stove on low-medium. 2. Add slices of cheese and sprinkles of flour and keep stirring and adding until it is the perfect consistency and cheesiness.
7. Buy interesting vegetables! Last summer I bought a bag of rainbow carrots, and the novelty was so fascinating that we were all into the idea of eating them, raw or otherwise. I also love buying those multi-coloured packs of mini tomatoes. Mini cucumbers are cute, and while you eat them you can pretend you are a giant. This works with broccoli florets as well, or “tiny trees,” as we like to call them. When things are pretty and interesting, and different than the old “run of the mill” veggies we all are already acquainted with, they are much more appealing to the palate.
You’ll notice that many of these things that I suggest you can use to improve your relationship with vegetables can ALSO be used to improve your relationship with anyone, ever.
Simply put: spend time in room temp, add dip, add cheese, embrace convenience and always keep it interesting.