The Washington Post

Be honest: Do you really love vegetables?

When I wrote last week about using ranch dressing to make vegetables more appealing to kids, I was surprised to see that several readers commented that the real issue was making vegetables appealing to adults. One wrote:

"Who worries about kids? I have trouble getting my husband to eat the danged vegetables!! He doesn't like any dressing though, so I sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of it. No matter what the "experts" say, vegetables are ok, but not terrific tasting, so there!! That's the truth of it, people will forever be fooling around with vegetables in order to "get" someone to really eat them by the plate full. Does anyone out there "sneak" broccoli or cauliflower, late at night??"

Sadly, that rings true with me. I never learned to love vegetables — I mean, love them in the sense that I seek them out and would rather eat them than, say, a slice of pizza — the way some people do. Even knowing everything I do about their myriad health benefits, and even with access to hundreds, even thousands of recipes for preparing vegetables, they still haven't become my top-favorite foods.

I'm clearly not alone. Last fall, I reported on the CDC's dismal accounting of American adults' intake of vegetables (and fruit, too). Seems hardly any of us eat as many vegetables as we should.  

I'd like to change that, and I'd like to encourage my kids to eat more vegetables, outside of our almost-nightly salads. Frankly, I like the idea of becoming a daytime vegan, as per Mark Bittman, who maintains a vegan diet till dinnertime and then eats whatever he pleases.

There's plenty of advice floating around for those of us who would up our vegetable consumption. If you're reading this health-and-nutrition blog, you've likely seen it all before.

It’s increasingly clear to me that, like so many health-related changes, increasing the role of vegetables in my life probably boils down to simply adopting some new habits — and shedding some old ones. So, this Sunday, when I compose my weekly grocery list, maybe I'll pull out some cookbooks and magazines and make sure I include some veggie-filled recipes in the week's meal plan. Even as I write that, I wonder why that hasn't already become my routine.

Would you like to eat more vegetables? How might you go about doing so? And let's hear from you veggie freaks out there: Can you share some ideas for adding more vegetables to our diets?

And, please: Hold the ranch.


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