Alluring Vegetables

July 11, 2017 in Health, Uncategorized by Joyce Bunderson

A team of Stanford researchers did a fun, but telling experiment in their university cafeteria. They tried different labels on veggies and tracked how it impacted selection. One of the most important outcomes was a surprise to me. People seem to think the healthier options are less tasty. Obviously, they have not adopted the Dr. Grandma byline: Good Health Can Be Yummy. Whenever they labeled veggies as something healthy, like “wholesome” fewer people chose the item; the identical item with a different and interesting name increased sales by 25%. If you’re in an influential position (parent, grandparent, or even professional menu planner) why not take advantage of this bit of research? Call your beans “Sizzlin’ beans;” the beets “Dynamite beets;” and the carrots “Twisted citrus-glazed carrots.” Put on your creative thinking cap and come up with some names that may influence someone at your table. I just tried it myself and came up with Scrumptious Wonder Woman Squash; Burly Spiderman Roasted Yam Wedges; and Skillet Ginger Green Beans to entice that no-veggies adult. Lucky, lucky me; I don’t have to do anything to influence my husband to eat vegetables; he loves them, and his slim healthy physique shows the benefits of generous consumption of veggies prepared in yummy ways.

Last week I wrote about Fruit Shunning in an effort to bring added awareness to fruit intake. Because most vegetables don’t have the sweetness of fruit, increasing intake can be even more of a challenge than fruit, except of course, if you’re following the Paleo or Atkins-style diet where fruit shunning is embraced. Because vegetables can be bitter, or even slightly bitter, it is important to learn about storage, cooking and flavorings to make the most of them. I’ve written so much about vegetables in the past, but maybe just a few more words.

I’ve put my best hints about helping kids increase vegetable intake and lots of ideas about why eat vegetables into previous blogs; and Muth’s book is still one of my all-time favorites. But you may be interested in a great BBC site that has seven succinct sections to make vegetables taste amazing. I’ve never once read research that did not include vegetables as a nutritious food to be included. It’s worth whatever effort you take to enjoy vegetables. The following are the BBC sections:

  1. Veg out
  2. Cooking for sweetness and texture
  3. How to match flavorings to vegetables
  4. Are you overlooking the tastiest veg?
  5. Cooking by color
  6. What a difference variety makes
  7. Storage solutions

A couple of ideas for July:

  • What’s a more perfect summer snack than easy to pick up slices of cucumber, celery, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and on, and on? As for the goodness of garbanzo beans, whip up a little hummus in the blender if you want to offer the dipping of the veggies into tasty, nutritious dip. This takes vegetable snacking to the next level.
  • If you aren’t used to cooking much, you could do something easy, like take a jar of pasta sauce and add any number of veggies: chopped mushrooms; grated or spiralized carrots or summer squash. Don’t stifle your creativity.
  • Make it into a game – adults or kids, make your own rules. How can you add an extra serving of fruit or vegetables to every single meal? A variation: When planning meals think of the vegetables first, then work out what you’ll serve with them.

If you’re not as lucky as me and don’t have a spouse who loves vegetables, it makes the game more challenging. I admit that in my distant past, I pan-grilled zucchini; blended it up; and disguised it within spaghetti sauce. Whatever it takes! Veggies are an important source of nutrients and fiber. Store ‘em right; cook ‘em up; assign an alluring name; and enjoy.