Five ways to eat healthy veg you hate

The nutrition team

Do you reach the recommended fruit and veg portions of 5-a-day? If you love all kinds of fruit and veggies, this might not be so difficult for you. But if you’re not a fan of the green stuff, this could make your weight loss harder and your diet a little bit less healthy.

The bad news is that by avoiding the foods you don’t like, you may be depriving your body of valuable nutrients, and making weight loss harder by limiting your options. The good news? You can teach your taste buds to enjoy the foods at which you once turned up your nose.

By the time you’re tried these five tactics, we're willing to bet you’ll be eating - and liking - more of those healthy foods than you ever thought possible.

1. Grant them a second chance. Your palate, like most other things, matures as you get older. In other words, if you were five years old when you declared your hatred for sprouts, it may be time to put them through another taste test. You might be surprised at what you’ve been missing all of these years.

2. Remember: one bad apple doesn’t spoil the bunch. If the word 'vegetable' conjures visions of much-maligned cabbage or soggy greens, it’s time to broaden your horizons. With hundreds of veggies out there, with diverse tastes and textures, it’s unlikely that you’ll hate every one of them.

The key is finding those best suited to your palate. Don’t like broccoli or Brussels? Perhaps you prefer sweet, starchy foods? Then, a sweet potato or sugar-snap peas fit the bill. If you like something more bitter, perhaps chard or rocket would be more to your liking. If spicy is your style, roast onions and peppers with chilli might be the right vegetables for you.

3. Cheat. Include hidden veggies – add finely chopped celery or grated carrot to your Bolognese sauce, for example, add extra fruit to your yoghurt or muesli or add lots of veggies to a curry or use exotic and exciting veggies, like we have below. But if you really can’t face a portion of carrots, why not try making our lower fat carrot cake below which includes carrots and uses crushed pineapple to reduce the fat content. Remember this is a treat and not an everyday way to increase your veg portions.

4. Seek out flavour sponges. If you truly can’t find vegetables with flavours you find tasty, choose the ones that act like sponges, taking on the flavours of whatever you’re cooking, such as mushrooms and aubergine. Add them to a stir-fry and they’ll taste like the soy sauce, cook them in wine or herbs and spices and they’ll absorb those flavours. Before long, you’ll start thinking of these foods in terms of the endless possibilities you can cook them in - rather than the raw flavours you associate with them now.

5. When all else fails, put on a mask. Why was salad dressing invented? Perhaps it was for people who don’t like the taste of raw veggies. Choose a low-fat or fat-free variety, and the dressing will make each crunch on those nutrient-rich veggies guilt-free and enjoyable.

Spice things up a bit with hot chilli sauce, garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar, chilli paste, honey, mustard, spices and herbs. The possibilities are endless...

Carrot Cake (contains eggs)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin.

Beat together an egg and an egg white, 2 tbs sunflower oil and 50g soft brown sugar until thick and smooth. Sieve in 65g each plain and wholemeal flour, a level tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and a tsp baking powder, and fold into the creamed mixture. Stir in a grated carrot, 50g raisins and a mashed ripe banana and spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix together a 150g tub quark or very low fat cream cheese, 1-2tbs icing sugar, depending on taste, and the juice of half a lemon. Use this to ice the loaf.

Makes 10 servings.
Nutritional information: 140 cals, 4g fat and 23g carbs (2 Units) per serving.

Green chicken and vegetable curry

In a food processor, mix together 2 cloves of garlic, 2cm ginger, peeled and sliced, a stalk of lemon grass, cut into 5cm pieces, 1 green and 1 red chilli (or more if you prefer a hotter curry) and ½ tbs vegetable oil. Blend to form a paste. Heat the paste in a non-stick frying pan or wok. Add a finely chopped onion and 2 chicken fillets, cut into 2cm chunks, and cook until evenly browned. Now add 2 lime leaves and ½ - 1 tbs nam pla (these ingredients are optional), the juice of a lime and enough reduced fat coconut milk to just cover the ingredients – around 200ml. Simmer for 10 minutes and then add a chopped green pepper, a head of broccoli cut into florets and around 100g mange touts peas. Cook for a further 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and serve with fragrant rice and plenty of fresh, chopped coriander.

Makes 2 servings.
Nutrition information: 290 cals, 13g of fat and 10g carbs (4 units) per serving.

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Thanks to tescodiets.com who have provided this article.