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How to get someone to eat vegetablesI am a Holistic Health Coach and I Hate Veggies

I hate veggies. Sometimes I worry that you are going to figure that out and disqualify me from my calling as a Holistic Health Coach.

After all, isn’t it an unspoken rule that to be a leader in health, you have to love vegetables?

I’m here to tell you, NO!

You can be healthy—even if you hate veggies.

There is more to your health than one food group.

Now, before you skip the rest and leave me nasty comments, let me explain.

Swallowing Peas By Four

When I was four, I learned to swallow pills. Well, technically they weren’t “pills.” They were peas. I hated peas so much that I’d sit at the dinner table with my pile of peas and a big glass of milk. One by one I would swallow them whole. You see, the exterior of a pea doesn’t taste much. It has the flavor of whatever it’s cooked in. It’s only when you bite it that all the pea-flavor bursts out.

{Sidenote: If your kids don’t yet know how to swallow pills, help them learn. Peas and mini-m&ms are easy to practice with.}

I know there are tons of people who love peas. They tell me that garden fresh peas are amazing. I am happy for those people. Peas are super healthy. In fact, I included them in my Eat Your Greens challenge recently in The Whole Health Community. I just hate them. Still.

Learning As An Adult

I grew up in a family that had cereal for breakfast, PB&J sandwiches for lunch, and meat & potatoes for supper. While there was some variation, that was typical. I’m pretty sure my mom would also serve another veggie (potatoes don’t count) with supper, but I don’t remember for sure.

We were not big salad eaters. We didn’t have a big garden or hit-up a farmers market. An abundance of fresh veggies just was not part of our routine.

Once, my grandpa tried to get my sisters and me to eat another serving of asparagus. I still remember the cold, mushy-yet-fibrous and chewy first serving. As much as I wanted that offered 2nd piece of cake, I couldn’t do it. Again, I know people love asparagus. I even bought it once to try again. The bag sat in my freezer for 3-years before I threw it away.

When Jon and I had kids, one of my biggest worries was how to get them NOT to grow up like me. When my oldest was two-years-old, I wrote this on Facebook.

A health coach that hates veggies

I confess that I still hate peas. I don’t take any if nobody is watching. If I’m being watched, I’ll take some, but mix them into my other food to mask their distinct flavor. Other veggies though, I’ve gotten much better about. Some, I even really like!

The thing is, every 28-days, you have a new set of taste buds. While you don’t change what you like and dislike every month, you can change. It can take more than 10 tries before you like a new food. Here are some tricks I’ve used on myself and with my kids.

The One-Bite Rule

The one-bite rule is just what it sounds like. Everyone has to try one bite. Nobody is allowed to give it a thumbs rating until he/she has actually eaten it. Then it can be rated 2-thumbs-down (or, if you’re my kids, 2,000 thumbs down sometimes!)

Tonight is a great example. I threw together veggies from the fridge and freezer (broccoli, carrots, corn, tomato) and then added some beans. Oh my, were there ever moans and groans when I said we were having veggies and beans for supper. My 4-year-old immediately declared the meal gross. I calmly reminded him that he needed to take one bite before he rated it and if he complained, he would get seconds. (Another helpful rule. Calmly rating a food and asking for something else is different than whining and complaining.) He tried a bite and exclaimed, “this is REALLY good!” He then flashed all ten fingers in the air about twenty times saying the meal earned “this many” thumbs up. Later on, after I kissed him goodnight, he called out “thanks for making supper, Mom!”

Roast Them

When vegetables are roasted, they taste sweeter and have a satisfying texture. This works well for the starchy veggies like squash as well as those you can cut into big chunks like carrots, broccoli, and brussels sprouts. Be prepared to make more than normal! They are delicious!

Here is a great guide on how to roast any vegetable.

I used frozen broccoli florets as teethers when my kids had swollen and painful gums. I think that really helped them develop a taste for broccoli. So while everyone eats it well, I know that if I’m roasting broccoli, I need to make 2-3 times more than I normally do because everyone goes back for seconds or even thirds!

Smother Them

The goal is to learn to enjoy veggies. If it works better at first to serve them smothered in a cheese-sauce, hummus, or a garlic-butter sauce, do it. You can cut down on the topping later; for now, just get the veggies in.

Blend Them

I love smoothies. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. One of the reasons I love them (other than the speedy-nutritional-ease) is that I can “hide” foods in them. There are many things I throw into smoothies. Zucchini comes to mind. While I like zukes, one of my boys hates them. If I can give him a smoothie that he likes and then (after he’s done with it) tell him he just enjoyed something with zucchini, two things happen. The first is that he is both proud and irritated that he consumed a hated food. The second is that the next time I serve zucchini, he knows he can take that one bite without dying. 😉

This one is the step I’m still on for beets. I want to like them. I know they are powerhouses of nutrition. But (so far) I can’t get over the taste. So, I blend them into an occasional smoothie. Eventually, I’ll tolerate them enough to try roasting them. Baby steps.

Fill the Gaps

Soon after graduating from nursing school, I heard a family practice doctor state, “some of the first signs of a nutrient deficiency is allergies and asthma.” That blew me away. But when I started to give my body all the micro-nutrients it needed, guess what happened!?

I could breathe again!

Unless you are eating plate-fulls of organic veggies every day AND living a stress-free and toxin-free life, you have gaps at the micronutrient level. The current demands on our bodies are more than they were 100 years ago. At the same time, the nutrients in our foods have decreased. Everyone should be taking a high-quality multi-vitamin and multi-mineral.We all need vitamins. Dr. Mark Hyman

In his book, Eat Fat, Get Thin, Dr. Mark Hyman states, “if you eat only wild food that you hunt and gather, drink pure clean water, breathe clean air, have no chronic stress, are exposed to no environmental toxins, and sleep nine hours a night, you don’t need vitamins, but the rest of us do.”

I have looked at hundreds, if not thousands, of vitamin products. I have found one that I trust to fill the micronutrient gaps in my own diet and my family’s diet. My little kids take the chewable children’s version and my older kids take the teen multivitamin. We all take a supplemental fish-oil.

Health is Not Just Your Diet

I am a Holistic Health Coach and I hate veggies. But I know that my micro-nutrient levels are good. I know I’m getting better all the time at eating vegetables.

Most importantly, I know my health is not based solely on my diet.

While it is key, it is only one of the 5-pillars of health.

Read more about that here.

Comment below or over in The Whole Health Community regarding your feelings towards vegetables.

I am a holistic health coach and I hate veggies
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How to eat more vegetables even if you hate them.