Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tips For Getting Loved Ones To Eat Vegetables

Photo Source: Raw Food Life
Not everyone was born loving veggies, something I definitely had to learn. I was just born with a taste for vegetables. And for most of my life I was oblivious to why some people proclaimed that they "don't like veggies" or worst that they "hate veggies" and I was too ignorant to try and understand.

That all changed when Mark and I moved in together. Mark was most definitely on the anti-veggies side, which created a huge problem and lots of frustration come meal time. After I got angry with him countless times for not even trying to eat his vegetables I realized I had to take a different approach. One day I asked him "why don't you like vegetables?".

This question and his answer helped us tenfold. This is my first tip: ask them what turned them off to vegetables. For Mark raw vegetables didn't sit too well with stomach, he loathed frozen steam-able vegetables, and he didn't eat salads because he thought lettuce didn't taste like much.

Ok, I could work with that. Then I asked him another important question: "Are there any vegetables that you do like?". There are so many different vegetables out there, why group them all together and proclaim hatred for all?

He responded that he liked broccoli, green beans, potatoes (especially red), carrots, asparagus and loved spinach.

I could definitely work with that. I made sure to stop buying any frozen steam-able packages; its not like they taste great anyway. When we went grocery shopping, I bought the vegetables Mark listed and used them in things like stir fries, soups, roasts, etc. This was a nice challenge for me to come up with new ways to use the same few veggies without getting bored and a way to show Mark how good and different they can taste depending on the other ingredients involved.

And then summer came around, which meant Farmer's Markets would be starting up. I was ecstatic for this because Mark would be able to see and taste how amazing fresh and local produce was.

The Farmer's Market is now a weekly trip (as can be seen by my weekend recap posts) and its where Mark grew a fondness for swiss chard.

Mark eating vegetables is no longer an issue in our home. It wasn't an easy journey and it took a lot of patience, but we are there. Mark will at least try every vegetable and give it a fair chance; thats all I can ask for. On top of him actually liking many new vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, squash, cabbage, and kale (chips), he was totally open and enjoyed trying out the raw food restaurant Ecopolitan, and I even have him eating salads every now and then. But what shocked me more than anything is a couple weeks ago he ordered a salad as his starter dish (and there were meat options)! I think I can safely say "mission accomplished". Score! Take that Bush.
Don't let his facial expression fool you, he liked it!
The moral of this story is: chances are if someone says they don't like vegetables, there is at least one they are ok with and it's up to you (the pro-veggie one) to show them the way to the rest.

Just remember patience is your friend :)

So my tips are as follows:

1. Calmly and willing to listen ask "why?".

2. Follow up with asking if there are any that they do like and start focusing heavily on dishes containing those vegetables.

3. But don't bombard them with loads of them, easy does it.

4. Make it fun by allowing them to pick out the produce at the store.

5. Bring them to the Farmer's Market so they see how much better fresh, local produce tastes.

6. Reward them once in awhile, let them know how happy you are that they are trying.

7. Most importantly, go slow and allow them to come around at their own pace.

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