Thursday, October 29, 2009

Good Health Guidelines: Vegetables and Fruits

This is the easy one: We all know that fruits and vegetables are good for us. Everyone says so. There is even some talk that the "Five A Day" minimum is too low, and that we should all be getting a lot more than that.

Even before I started Weight Watchers, I was trying to eat more fruits and vegetables. The fruits were no problem for me, but I grew up as a very picky kid who never liked vegetables, other than salad, carrots, and celery. Oh, and sweet corn and tomatoes.

It seems crazy to me now, but I really thought I hated all cooked vegetables (except corn). What I figured out is that I didn't like the style of cooked vegetables I grew up with: Canned green beans, peas cooked until they were mushy. When "Cooking Thin" was on the air, I started trying some of Chef Kathleen's recipes for vegetables and became much more adventurous. Then we tried Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) one year, and I had to figure out what to do with mountains of squash and collard greens, and that got me even more used to experimentation.

And of course, on Weight Watchers, most vegetables are 0 points, and I learned that adding those free veggies to my meals meant that I wasn't ready to chew on the table leg.

I went from the girl who used to pick out just the chicken from Szechuan Chicken to someone who will order an extra plate of steamed broccoli on the side to add to my entree -- and actually I like it better that way, I don't just do it to stretch out the calories.

Now when I plan dinners, I figure out at least one and sometimes two veggie sides to add, or I find ways to put veggies into the entree. I add extra vegetables to stir-fry recipes. I love sauteed vegetables over pasta, especially with some basil and olive oil. I learned a frittata recipe that can be revised to use just about any vegetable that I have hanging around. I like to have veggie-filled sandwiches and wraps for lunch too. In the wintertime, a big pan of roasted vegetables is true comfort food for me.

I am a living example that even the most hardcore veggie hater can be reformed, it just takes some time and creativity. I didn't love every recipe I tried, but I kept trying and eventually learned what I liked.


  1. I am roasting veggies right now! YUM!

  2. I grew up on whatever came out of the garden so I've always loved all veggies.

  3. Mushy veges suck, no doubts about that. Boiling an already soft vegetable in water is a sin against nature. I've got 500g of frozen veges in the microwave right now. Yum.

  4. I learned to like more veggies when I was 13 and sitting in a vegetable stand all day selling the vegetables we grew. The greem pepper started to smell really good and the squash looked inviting. I also grew to love melons that I had never tasted before. I'd walk up the hill after the stand closed famished and saute some things. Plus my Mom cooked everything we grew and was always trying new recipes. It was a very fortunate event in my growing up that we did this for a few years to raise college money. I have very fond memories of it. anyway, that's my veggie story for the day! thanks for the great topic!!

  5. Ok so that is green not greem pepper..sorry, typing too fast

  6. I miss that "Cookimg Light" show.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07