Although most of you are vegan, what do you do when your significant other is not? How do you encourage them to understand the importance of eating their greens without making it too hard for them? I prepared a few tips and tricks for you. Here they are:
1- Prepare them ahead of time
Make sure to have vegetables in two of your meals (both at noon and at dinner – at least one of them raw) as well as at least one snack a day. Getting a variety is important. To make it easier, have a mix of cut-up veggies in the freezer to quickly cook them for stir-fries or sauces.
2- Make dessert
It is easy to make zucchini chocolate cake, carrot and raisin loaves, or beet cupcakes. Change the recipe around to make it tasty - add pineapple, cinnamon & nutmeg and you get an awesome spice cake, or change the raisins to ginger for the carrot loaf and you have a tasty treat!
3- Make soup
Creaming vegetables for a soup is definitely a great way to enhance a meal with vegetables. As you are mixing them together, you can camouflage the flavour of one less liked veggie with the loved ones very easily, or by adding soy milk and spices.
4- Have fruits and veggies handy
When you come home from grocery shopping, immediately cut up all your fruits and veggies into snack-sized slices. That way, you will find it more tempting to reach for them when you get the munchies. And, it cuts down on meal-preparation time.
5- Hide them
Those who hate veggies won't be able to tell that they are in pasta sauces – especially if you puree them. With all those tomatoes and spices, they won't know that you added spinach and carrots.
6- Snack it
It is easy to turn snap peas, beans, radishes, chick peas or any other fresh veggie into a snack – especially the crunchy ones. They replace chips well, especially if you add a little soy sauce to them and bake them at a low temperature to soak in the flavour.
It is easy to add finely chopped spinach, cilantro, chunks of mushrooms, tomatoes and peppers, bits of zucchini, or even green peas to hummus, eggplant dip, onion dip, or any other you can think of.
8- Vary your salads
Salads are an easy way to add vegetables to one's diet. You just need to add small bits if it is an unloved item, or just grab some mushrooms, peas, corn, or even fruits, to the mix. The best way to always continue enjoying salads is to make a variety, and to make sure to use as much of your favourite veggies as you can.
9- Juice it
You can either purchase a juicer – which is actually quite expensive – to make juice, or you can use a blender. If you are not into pulp, use it to make desserts and soups, or to add to burgers, mashed potatoes, and your spaghetti sauce. Either way, juicing is a great way to easily get a load of vitamins. And, you can easily make a glass of green veggies taste great by adding just a bit of apple. For optimum fruit juices, add a bit of ripe mango.
10 - Blend them in cheese sauce
Although I don't encourage dairy, if it is the only way to get a difficult child to start eating sizeable portions of veggies every day, then by all means, go for it. Or, try using vegan cheeses – there is quite a good variety out there.
Either way, when you are trying to encourage someone to start eating vegetables or encouraging them to become vegan, the best advice is to start with veggies they like, and work your way up. Tastes can change, but it does take a while, and it does need to be done in a way that doesn't scare your loved ones away.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.