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Help me eat more veg please!

(55 Posts)
weatherall Mon 28-Jul-14 08:50:05

Hi I've been directed here from another thread where I was worried about my health as I eat almost no veg at all. (At most one small portion pwk)

I didn't realise this was so unusual or so unhealthy. I eat fruit and lots of dairy and wholemeal bread so I thought that was ok.

We are really broke atm and DP is a vegetarian so we don't eat (can't afford) much meat. Meals are often carb and dairy based eg pizza, mac cheese, toasties.

I was surprised on the other thread that people were saying they actually like veg. To me they are something I tolerate because I know I should. After spending 2 days thinking about this the only examples of veg I like are: garlic, mushrooms, pickled baby beets, home made tziki (cucumber), onions in things eg mac cheese, home made chips with skins on, tomato sauce in pizza and spag bol.

Veg I don't find too bad are: raw or roasted carrot, really buttery sprouts, blended homemade lentil soup (carrot and tomato), red pepper on pizza.

If it's on a plate in front of me I'll eat baby spinach, green beans, lettuce (not rocket) but I don't 'like' them.

I don't like lots of flavours or textures mixed together. I don't like black pepper, salad dressings, chilli, anything spicy/hot/strong.

So what can people suggest?

Legionofboom Mon 28-Jul-14 09:18:18

When you say that you don't 'like' vegetables do you mean that you actively dislike them and feel uncomfortable eating them or that you just don't like them as much as say cheese or pizza? If it is the latter then you need to start by accepting that sometimes you need to eat things to give your body nutrients and not simply because it's your favourite thing to eat.

I think you need to open your mind to trying different things. This will be a mental battle for you. Why not make it a plan to try a new, different vegetable every week?

Give it a chance. If you have been eating a certain way for a long time trying something new may well feel weird and even uncomfortable. Your diet sounds heavily processed so you need to teach yourself to get used to the different flavours of fresh food.

I'm not saying you will eventually like all vegetables but don't expect to try something once and just think 'oh yeah this is great'. You need to commit to changing your taste buds and keep trying. Don't make a big deal of it or start dreading it, just commit to trying a bit.

At the moment the only veg you really like is stuff surrounded by the type of food you prefer. It will take time and commitment to get used to eating simply prepared vegetables but your body will thank you for it.

Bolshybookworm Mon 28-Jul-14 09:51:01

Don't beat yourself up about it, it sounds like you're at least willing to try things, which is half the battle.
I would start by adding vegetables to flavours that you already like, like tomatoes and garlic. For example, green beans are really good if you add them to some chopped fresh tomato and garlic that you've fried in a little olive oil. Or add more veg to a favourite stew or bolognese recipe. Lots of veg taste good combined with yoghurt as well. Roast a whole aubergine until black, peel it and mash it and mix it with yoghurt, lemon, olive oil, salt and garlic. My favourite dip! Even avocado- if you make guacamole with some onion, tomato, coriander and tomato, it turns into something amazing (a WORLD away from shop bought). Lots of veg are dull on their own but awesome with garlic/onion/tomato. Ditto cheese. Peas, asparagus, mushrooms all taste good in a cheese sauce with pasta.

To get you started, here's my favourite veggie recipe . You could always add some bacon or pork, to make it more meaty, but it's got a surprisingly meaty taste on its own.

My favourite veggie stew (it has a surprisingly rich , meaty flavour). Chop up 2 carrots , 2 cloves garlic ,a punnet of mushrooms, 2-3 leeks. Gently fry in 2 tblsps olive oil until softened. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, 2 tblsps soy sauce , some smoked paprika and enough stock (I use veggie) to make a thick stew. Simmer, lid off for 20 min. Add a drained tin of butter beans, simmer, lid on for 20 min. Works well with dumplings!

Bolshybookworm Mon 28-Jul-14 10:02:02

Sorry, just seen that you don't like texture (seems a common problem in people of my generation- maybe it's the way we were weaned?). In that case, the blender is your friend. Try broadening your range of blended soups eg curried parsnip and apple (it's not spicy!), butternut squash and lentil, courgette and cream, mushroom. All are easy to make at home and, with bread and cheese, make for a cheap meal. Also, try the following pasta sauce;

Fry the veg of your choice (works well with onions and peas, mushrooms ( plus garlic and sherry), courgettes) in olive oil or butter until soft. Add some double cream and Parmesan (and ham, if you need meet), stir until melted, serve with favourite pasta. If textures an issue, you could blend this

weatherall Mon 28-Jul-14 11:59:22

These ideas are great, thanks!

DP cooks for a living and is really good so I think I've gradually stopped cooking and left it to him.

But he never makes soups etc as he doesn't like them and my diet has got worse and worse!

I don't hate cooking (just hate dishes) and I'm quite a good cook but I just don't do abything other than throwing a pizza in the oven when I'm stressed these days.

I have no imagination to think up meals.

OnIlkleyMoorBahTwat Mon 28-Jul-14 12:04:07

In the other thread, I suggested veg sticks with dip and a carrot salad - do either of those appeal?

Do you like houmous? Pulses count as vegetables too so what about a mixed bean salad - cheap and great protein source for vegetarians too.

The carrot salad was 200g grated carrot, a bunch of chopped coriander and sprinkle with pumpkin and sesame seeds - not sure how much - just whatever you like the look of, its not important.

It was dressed with a white wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. Again I can't remember the amounts but something like a couple of tablespoons of each plus salt and pepper - again if you think its too much or not enough, just change to suit.

What about curries with vegetables and pulses - the curry sauce will disguise the veg taste and again is very cheap. I keep meaning to try this recipe.

ChubbyKitty Mon 28-Jul-14 12:06:09

Can I float about on this thread as my DP is quite a fussy eater?

Weatherall do you like cheesy mash?

fuzzpig Mon 28-Jul-14 12:19:18

Hi Weatherall smile well done for starting the thread. As bolshy says, don't beat yourself up, just focus on moving forward!

I agree trying one new thing a week might be a good place to start. And while that's happening, how about committing yourself to serving some veg (that you've already had before and can tolerate) with every dinner? So say you tried avocado with one dinner, the other six you could have a portion of raw carrot or green beans or something. Even if it's just a tablespoon of one thing, it's much much better than nothing, and you'll gradually get used to it.

weatherall Mon 28-Jul-14 12:27:12

In starting to forget what I've written on this thread and what's on the other one!

And I'm on my phone so not easy to scroll!

I had beans and toast for breakfast this morning instead of a bagel/cheese toastie so I have made a little start.

I'll have to go shopping for dinner tonight because all we have in the house is frozen peas which I don't like.

I'm realising I did used to eat a bit more veg, maybe 2/3 portions pwk but this has slipped back so I'll try the familiar first and build up.

Hummus- I've tried supermarket and it was ok but I'd probably prefer home made. Even though my diet is 'junky' it is all home made/cooked from scratch (except supermarket pizzas, as I don't like ready meals, Chinese takeaways, nuggets/fish fingers type processed food.

goodasitgets Mon 28-Jul-14 16:32:53

Cauliflower cheese soup is gorgeous, especially with crispy bacon on top grin

goodasitgets Mon 28-Jul-14 16:38:21

I'm still thinking for you smile

Garlic mushrooms and finely chopped onion (and cream if you like it) is nice with fresh bread
Tzatziki (the cucumber stuff I can't spell!), how about that on a wrap and add baby spinach and other fillings to it?
Quesadillas - tortillas toasted with a filling so you could add onion, cheese, chopped tomato. Maybe try a freshly made garlicky salsa with it
If you like pickled beets, do you like gherkins, pickled onions and things like that?
Sometimes I am utterly crap at eating veg so I will do a stew - I use a mini chopper to whizz up garlic, onion and celery to make the base, then in the stew put carrots and mushrooms

givemushypeasachance Mon 28-Jul-14 16:42:43

Even the fussiest of veg eaters usually like roasted Mediterranean veg, because it's quite sweet and the flavours are really brought out by the roasting. Just take some red onion, courgette, peppers and chop up into thumb size pieces. Stick on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and a bit of salt/pepper/herbs. Bung in oven. After 20 minutes or so stir about a bit, add some peeled garlic cloves and some cherry tomatoes. Another 20 minutes or so in the oven and voila. Mix it up with the vaguely Mediterranean veg of your choice and serve with nearly anything.

Bolshybookworm Mon 28-Jul-14 17:12:08

You can make the Mediterranean veg into a lovely lasagne as well- add some passata to the roast veg, then layer with bechamel sauce (bought or made) and lasagne sheets. Bechamel and sliced ball of mozzarella on top. My kids go NUTS for this.

Mmm, quesadillas, my favourite. You can chuck in some refried beans (you can get mild or spicy tinned ones) as well.

Another trick for brightening up veggie sauces, dips, salsas etc is to add a squeeze of lemon. Makes almost everything taste better.

weatherall Mon 28-Jul-14 19:39:31

goidasitgets do you have a recipe for cauliflower cheese soup. I used to eat cauliflower cheese but have never had soup.

DP is going to make a roast veg lasagne tomorrow.

We didn't make it to the shops today so had to make something from what we had in.

I had wholemeal spaghetti with tiger prawns, Boursin, cream, onion, garlic and chopped green beans. The consistency of having a veg in the pasta did feel odd but the bitter taste was masked by the cream and garlic.

I'd eat it again but it didn't feel like a healthy meal- I try to avoid pasta (empty carbs) and cream (so high in fat) but is it maybe worth it since it got me eating a portion of green veg?

fuzzpig Mon 28-Jul-14 20:31:20

That improvised dinner sounds fab! It was definitely improved by putting the beans in. It's good not to eat pasta that often - I mean I LOVE it, but it's easy to overeat it so I tend to limit it and also use less than the recommended 75g per person.

goodasitgets Mon 28-Jul-14 20:40:23

With that pasta you could change it up by adding baby spinach or courgette or some peas

Soup (I seem to remember it was this one I used, comfort food in a bowl!)

weatherall Mon 28-Jul-14 21:48:18

I prefer baby spinich raw to cooked. I have had it cooked in baked egg but I'm not keen on the texture.

Peas I can't stand in anything. I hate the smell-I'll leave the room if I smell them. The hard skin and squishy middle, yuk! It's ine of my worst childhood memories.

But I know it's a pain because they could be easily added to lots of dishes. I'm not keen on sweet corn for the same textural reason. But I don't worry about that as it's not very healthy.

I am going to eat soups again though. I prefer blended soups but don't know many recipes other than lentil. I'll try the par ship and cauliflower cheese soup suggestions.

Lemons are a no no. I can't even stand a slice in water. They are so bitter. I don't even like lemonade or lemon maraigne pie.

Lemon dressing is probably what put me off salads.

I veer towards quite plain foods. We never had sauces growing up because my mum said that was what made people fat! So I think I just got used to blandness. Generally I find the taste of veg very strong compared to bread, butter, cream, most meat and fish.

sharond101 Mon 28-Jul-14 21:54:29

We do (DH is veg phobic)

Roasted vegetables - favourites red peppers, red onions and courgettes
Roasted cauliflower
Brocolli stir fried with soy sauce, garlic and ginger
Carrots and/or parsnips fried in butter then honey and brown sugar added before finishing off in the oven
Pureed cauliflower, swede or parsnips
Sweet potatoes as mash, wedges or fries
Balsamic caramelized onions
grilled corn on the cob
peas in pods

goodasitgets Mon 28-Jul-14 22:04:08

Have a look when you go food shopping at the fresh soups and you can copy the ingredients wink

With salad dressing have you ever tried a creamy one like Caesar or ranch dressing? I like creamy garlic ones and they go really well with baby spinach

winkywinkola Mon 28-Jul-14 23:11:40


LumionaMoonsplash Mon 28-Jul-14 23:25:03

I honestly don't eat as much veg as I should. However my Mum overcooked it a lot growing up and I didn't really like mushy veg. Eg we'd have white cabbage boiled within an inch of its life, the smell and texture was awful and rarely ate it, until I started steaming savoy cabbage for a few minutes with garlic, soy sauce and salt/ pepper. Crunchy tasty veg. For me and DH we prefer slightly undercooked veg. So my advice is to experiment with cooking styles. Roasted or steamed is often better than boiled.

weatherall Tue 29-Jul-14 08:11:21

Yes, roasted carrots or red peppers aren't too bad.

But I need to know how to incorporate them into meals.

And they do take a while to roast (don't they?)- will they keep in the fridge once cooked? Can they be microwaved warm again?

What else can be roasted? I don't like courgettes. I can take aubergines in things like lasagne/mosakka but not sure of it on it's own.

weatherall Tue 29-Jul-14 08:23:04

I used to eat Caesar salad years and years ago but it's not veggie so DP doesn't eat it so it went out of my diet.

I need to try it again because I didn't mind the sauce, lettuce, chicken and Parmesan. I found the croutons a bit too crunchy so left most of those. (I bought ready made salad and added the chicken).

I might try a home made version. Anyone got a good Caesar sauce recipe?

I've remembered that I used to like minestrone soup (but again ham stock so DP doesn't eat so I stopped eating) (I'm seeing a pattern here!). I don't think we've even ever tried it on the DCs. I don't even think I can remember how to make it- ham stock,tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, onion? Garlic? Mini pasta, some kind of herb? Some kind of bean? Canellini?

Do beans like that in soup count as a portion of veg?

weatherall Tue 29-Jul-14 08:27:47

I think I could have turnip or sweet potato mashed in with normal potato then some roasted red onion and Parmesan on top.

It would kind of seem like baby food but will probably work when I want comfort food especially in the winter.

I'm having tea, a banana and 2 satsumas for my breakfast this morning. Surely no one has veg at breakfast?

Gerty1002 Tue 29-Jul-14 08:39:00

Here's an easy minestrone soup recipe, uses veg stock so is suitable for your DH smile

Sorry if link doesn't work, I'm on the mobile app

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