What do you think of when you think of vegetables?
Does “eating diet food” come to mind, or is it one of your favorite foods?
Does it sound like something you “have to” or “should” eat, or just another part of your meals?
There is nothing inherently diet-y about vegetables, but diet culture has really taken advantage of them!
It might feel a bit simple to write a whole blog post about vegetables, but we have found many clients associate them so closely to diets that their relationship with them can be disordered – so we thought it was worth talking about a little further.
You can enjoy vegetables how YOU like them, not how diet culture says you are supposed to eat them (i.e. with dressing on the side, or raw without dipping in ranch)!
Keep reading to see how your view of vegetables might be altered due to your dieting history, and how you can eat more vegetables without dieting.
Dieting and Diet Culture Can Distort Your View of Certain Foods
Diet culture has created us to believe that some foods are “good” while others are “bad” – pitting the two against each other. Brittany Jones Nutrition Group dietitians teach food freedom, which allows unconditional permission to eat all foods, and can help us be more attuned with our body.
Remember that “Force-feeding” yourself vegetables will move you in the opposite direction of trusting your body.
As we learn to trust our body and its choices, we begin to strike a balance between functional and fun foods and it becomes a much more natural process.
We have also seen how all-or-nothing thinking with vegetables can sneak in. If you have heard in a past diet that you can only have steamed, bland vegetables, low fat/low sugar dressing (or even worse- no dressing!), it is understandable how that would not satisfy you! If you have used vegetables to cover up a craving because they have little “points” (etc), you probably have realized this does not work and will only make your craving more intense. These experiences are common, and know that vegetables don’t have to be consumed in this way.
It is important to also note that your view toward vegetables might be altered from your experiences as a child. If you were forced to eat certain vegetables or if you were rarely exposed to them, this will also have an impact. Have compassion on yourself if it feels like you are “picky” when it comes to vegetables. It is never too late to just start trying and experimenting.
Shift To An Abundance Mindset
Another reason people might avoid eating vegetables is that it is often used as a replacement for things when dieting. You can eat a lot of vegetables without having to make it a replacement for something else in the meal! By all means if you like cauliflower rice – go for it – but we would still love to see you add some carbs to your meal such as corn/peas/beans or some bread/crackers. If you love rice, eat the rice and have some vegetables on your plate as well.
It can be helpful to think how we can ADD to a meal or snack, not replace it. As you begin to try to incorporate vegetables in new ways, know that there might be some vegetables that you like and some you don’t, and that is okay!
How To Make Vegetables Tasty
Here are some ideas to incorporate more vegetables from a place of abundance, not restriction:
- Start with a list. Think of the vegetables you like and the ones you have not tried or want to try making differently. Sometimes it can be helpful to think of something you have had before at a restaurant (like those crispy brussels sprouts or interesting salads) and want to try to recreate it!
- Branch out in the kitchen. If you like steaming, go for it! But sautéing, roasting, and grilling can bring out amazing textures and flavors. If you have an air fryer (or convection oven), this can make vegetables really crisp.
- Experiment with seasonings and marinades. Just like you marinate your meat for the grill, try marinating your vegetables! Think beyond salt and pepper- we love all the spice blends at Trader Joes! For those that find vegetables bitter, try using maple syrup or honey in a marinade or when roasting to cut the bitterness.
- Don’t be afraid of oil. Not only does the oil help with satiety and in enhancing taste, it helps you absorb all the fat-soluble vitamins in vegetables. Also, you will thank yourself when cleaning the pan!
- Think beyond a side. Sides are great, but you can also enhance whatever you’re making by throwing some extra vegetables in the mix. Making a breakfast casserole or omelet? Maybe add some peppers and onions. Your favorite pasta dish or soup? Think about some throwing in frozen spinach or fresh mushrooms.
- Sauce it up. There are so many different things you can do in this area. Maybe it looks like a balsamic glaze, hummus, chimichurri drizzle, or some other dipping sauce.
- You don’t have to order salad dressing on the side! You would be surprised how much more satisfying a salad is when it’s tossed nicely WITH the dressing.
Check Out Some of Our Favorite Brittany Jones Nutrition Group Vegetable Recipes
We hope this gets you started on how you can be adding vegetables to your diet coming from a place of abundance. If you would like some ideas to get you started, check out some of ours below: