I used to hate pretty much all vegetables. But my version of vegetables - and all healthy food - was a side of overly steamed and tasteless veggies instead of my usual order of fries. Or iceberg lettuce and bland tomatoes when what I really wanted was a big pizza.
Initially, the whole concept of “eating healthy” seemed like a miserable process. So when I decided I wanted to incorporate more veggies into my diet, I thought I was going to have to resort to tasteless meals for the rest of my life... or for as long as I could keep it up. Thank goodness it didn't take me long to learn that vegetables can actually taste not just good, but incredible!
Why You Might Not Like Vegetables
Believe it or not, there are some solid reasons why I didn’t (and maybe you!) don't like those bitter-tasting vegetables.
The formation of our tastebuds starts in the womb based on the food our mother had. As we age our palate acclimates to and is reinforced by what we eat. So if you like sweet and savory foods, your taste buds start to crave those foods even more. Unfortunately, vegetables are often slightly bitter which is the opposite of sweet and/or savory so they're a lot less likely to be incorporated. In which case, your palate has no reason to acquire a taste for them in the first place.
I’m not saying you should start blaming your mom for your dislike of veggies. But we can say is that our taste buds are malleable and that's a good thing. Yay!
How to Change Your Tastebuds
Vegetables are such an important aspect of a good nutrition plan. There are phytonutrients within vegetables that you just can't get anywhere else and each color corresponds with different positive impacts. One way or another, I knew I needed to learn to like them.
So what do you do?
Train your tastebuds just like you train your body.
Our taste preference evolves over time and below are a few methods you can use to incorporate more vegetables into your daily plate.
1. Challenge Your Tastebuds to Adapt
This method usually means putting high-quality vegetables on your plate and forcing your taste preference to change. This can be a rough approach and doesn’t check the “enjoy the process” desire so it's not one I'd recommend.
A more subtle way to challenge your tastebuds is simply to try something over and over rather than forcing yourself to eat a whole plate of it.
For example, I used to have such an aversion to mushrooms that one time I didn't know they were in a dish I took a bite from... and I had to quickly leave Christmas dinner to get sick. But when I decided I really wanted to like mushrooms and reap their nutritional rewards, I started having a bite here and there. Whenever a friend got mushrooms on a pizza, I'd have a bite. If they cooked them up in pasta, I'd have another bite. One day I was able to tolerate them. And eventually, my tastebuds adapted so much that I actually learned to love them. Bring on the mushrooms!
2. Compliment the Vegetable with a Food You Enjoy
This method means pairing the food you want to enjoy (veggie) with a healthy element you already love. Olive oils and ghee are often good pairings or even adding in some sliced red onions or garlic could do the trick.
Note that the goal is to complement the vegetable, not disguise it i.e. drown your veggies in a salad dressing. Ultimately, that won’t help your taste preferences evolve.
This is a method I still incorporate to this day. I’m not a fan of olives but I don’t mind them on a pizza or in a Mediterranean dish so I’m able to eat them that way. I don’t care for green beans but I love them baked with lots of everything seasoning. The healthy element paired with the undesired vegetable helps me enjoy and eat a vegetable regularly that I wouldn't otherwise be able to.
3. Supplement with a Vegetable Powder
If you’re finding that you’re still having trouble getting in enough vegetables to adapt your palette, there are other options like adding in a vegetable supplement like a green powder.
Getting our food from their whole natural source is ideal. But we also know there are times when we’re on the road and getting the desired amount of fruits and veggies is hard. If you’re struggling to get enough in, then we have a few products we like.
Garden Of Life
I completely understand not liking vegetables. Liking the bitter taste isn’t common. However, getting in the proper amount of non-processed vegetables each day is essential to a pretty healthy well-rounded diet. Using some of the strategies listed above will help your tastebuds come around so that one day you can enjoy a much wider variety of veggies.
Good luck! And we'd love it if you'd share which ways you’ve found helpful to incorporate more veggies into your day. (Especially the veggies you don't like as much!)