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Healthy foods you’ve come to love

November 21, 2009

One of the big things about changing the way you eat is discovering new foods. The way I grew up I had little experience of vegetables outside of microwaved broccoli and green beans. When I first became vegan, I had a period of discovery where the world of vegetables, fruits and grains-that-weren’t-white-rice opened up to me. Who knew that veggies could be tasty without being absolutely drowned in butter? What was more amazing was the discovery that a lot of foods that had a reputation as being ‘gross’ were quite delicious when prepared well.

An important part of making healthy changes that often gets left out is that if you don’t actually enjoy some of these healthy foods it’s gonna be a helluva lot harder to maintain those changes. Which means being open to trying new things and also being willing to acknowledge that sometimes the healthiest vegetable just isn’t going to taste good to you. That being said, here are some of my favorite vegetables that I discovered later in my life:

Brussel Sprouts. Toss with olive oil, salt and maybe some chopped garlic. Roast in a 415 degree oven for 20-ish minutes and voila. These are awesome.

Cabbage: Yeah, I know, everyone else already got the memo. Hot ‘buttered’ cabbage? Wow. And it doesn’t actually require a soup of butter to be good, either.

Parsnips: Shred some of these on a veggie wrap, chop them up and roast them with onions. Whatever. Their flavor and texture just screams fresh to me.

And likewise there are a few that I’ve come to accept will never be my favorites:

Kale
Summer squash
green beans

Maybe some of you can convince me of a way to prep these that I’ll actually enjoy.

So what are some of the foods that you discovered later in life that surprised you by being both nutritious and delicious?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2009 7:48 am

    Cooked vegetables in general. I just ate them raw as a kid, as the mom has always been weird about adding fat or flavor, and overcooked veggies taste like ass. One of my favorites is collard greens, I steam them, put lemon juice on them. They taste so fresh and green, and if it’s the right time of year (winter), they’re sweet. Especially the ones out of my yard. I am also surprised to find that I like brussel sprouts, I cook them similar to you, but with butter, and towards the end, garlic and herbs. Roots, too. We never had beets except out of the can, and I still don’t like those. Baked beets, roasted beets, beets in soup, yum, and purple! I’m going to try the parsnips again, I found them sweet but fibery, but maybe my problem was that I was trying to eat it like a carrot.

  2. November 22, 2009 10:51 pm

    Roasted vegetables of all varieties. My parents were victims of the low-fat craze in the ’80s when I was growing up (they were also very concerned about my size even then), and so did a lot of steamed vegetables. The day I learned you could toss ’em in olive oil (and garlic, and cayenne, and and and) and get ’em all crispy was the day I started eating a whole heck of a lot more vegetables. Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, cauliflower, green beans, parsnips, beets—I’ll roast just about anything.

    I like kale in bits in soup because it stays pretty intact and adds nice texture. I put it in lentil soup. My mom also used to make this soup with kale and tomatoes and spicy sausage…it was killer. Green beans are pretty much my favorite vegetable ever, so I’ll eat them raw with hummus or just about any other way, but I find just barely sauteed with a warm vinaigrette is a favorite. You’re on your own with summer squash.

  3. meerkat permalink
    November 29, 2009 5:04 am

    I don’t know how to make those ones good without using at least butter substitute, like Earth Balance Spread. Some squashes are good with brown sugar–not sure about summer squash specifically.

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