By Monta Cooper


Do you remember eating that green pea-pureed baby mush masquerading as food as a toddler? No of course not, how could you?! You were a toddler! But with that kind of introduction to veggies when life was just beginning how could you NOT hate veggies! It’s totally understandable. Vegetables can be bland and boring and well….veggie-like.

But veggies can also be your very best friend.

Hear me out. Last year when I joined a nutrition group I discovered a wonderful little secret. You CAN actually lose weight without dieting AND without exercising yourself into the ground. (I should add that I’m seriously not trying to sell you anything). I really did lose 30 pounds over the last year and I didn’t diet, I didn’t change my exercise routine, I just incorporated more veggies into my life.

The key is veggies, veggies, veggies. If veggies are the prominent staple of your meals, you will feel better and you will lose weight.

The “Why” Is Clear…But In Case You Still Need Convincing

The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 2 1/2 cups of vegetables or nine servings per day.

It makes sense. Veggies provide the key nutrients your body needs for basic maintenance, as well as reducing risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. They also “lower risk of eye and digestive problems, and have a positive effect upon blood sugar, which can help keep appetite in check.”

Veggies are truly marvelous. They are cancer-fighters and blood-pressure lower-ers! They fill us up but don’t make us fat! They help our body function properly! So it is absolutely imperative that we incorporate them into our daily meals. They are NOT just for dinner time. It’s only 1pm a I write this and I’ve already had 4 1/2 servings of veggies! And I feel great!

My Top 5 Ways to Enjoy Veggies

But you can’t make anything a consistent habit if you absolutely hate it, so let’s figure out a way to help you actually LIKE veggies! Here are my top 5 ways to enjoy veggies. I hope at least 1 will resonate with you so you can try it this week!

  1. Butter is our friend!
  2. Find a salad dressing you crave!
  3. Try different V8s!
  4. Edemame is awesome!
  5. Cauliflower rice paired with spicy food!

Butter Is Our Friend

My favorite way to have veggies at dinner is to simply cut up something fresh, whether it’s broccoli, grean beans, or cauliflower, and boil it until tender. Then I drain it and add the magic….salt and butter.

Now you may be thinking, too much salt and butter is a big “no no!” But in reasonable amounts our body needs salt and fat. Many processed foods offer far more sodium than our body needs, but sprinkling some kosher salt on broccoli is not going to hurt you, especially if it means you’ll be eating more veggies!

Even all 3 of my boys, who are extremely picky eaters, LOVE fresh green beans slathered in butter and salt. So simple, so easy, so so good. Leaps and bounds yummier than any canned or frozen veggie in my opinion. Give it a try!

Find a Salad Dressing You Crave!

For the purposes of snacking, as well as for meals, buying a veggie platter that already has a cut up veggie variety ready to go can be a super easy way to include more veggies in your day. No washing or cutting involved! Ready at your finger tips!

But if you hate raw veggies, this will sound completely awful.

May I suggest experimenting with salad dressings! Pick 2-5 different dressings you think you might like and give them each a try as a dip for those veggies. Keep searching until you find that miraculous dressing that you’ll want to put on absolutely everything.

For me it’s Ken’s Steak House Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette. I would eat my own arm with this stuff slathered on it. It’s so yummy and I salivate just thinking about it. Olive Garden Light Italian Dressing is a close second for me. Years ago I was not much of a salad eater until I discovered these dressings and now I LOVE salads! And they can also work as a veggie dippers!

V8 – Try Different flavors!

V8 is not just an engine in last years Honda Civic. If your first instinct is “yuck” to the thought of drinking a standard tomato-based V8 drink, try a new flavor! Last I counted there are 27 different drinks, which include but are not limited to flavors like Sparkling + Energy Strawberry Kiwi and a Bloody Mary Mix. They really do have a flavor for every pallet, and they all include at least 1 serving of veggies. My personal favorite is the low sodium 100% vegetable juice.

Their sparkling Black Cherry flavor might be just the thing to help you replace that Dr. Pepper you’ve been craving daily for the last few years. Both your waistline and your gut will thank you if you make this change, I promise!

Edemame Is Awesome!

E-de-ma-me = ede-what now?!! Edemame is a Japanese term for lightly boiled and perfectly salted soybeans. They are so good, just ask my 5-year old who steals mine whenever he can!

There are a few different ways to eat it, but I’ll just share my favorite. I buy the steamable individual serving-sized bags that are 90 calories each. Firstly, they are the perfect size for one person. Secondly, they just require 3-minutes in the microwave and then I rinse them off in a bowl under cold water & eat. Thirdly, they steam inside their own pods, so the soybeans stay nice an moist. If you buy the packs with the soybeans already de-podded they tend to be dryer and not as scrumptious. And lastly, if you are a fiddly eater like I am, meaning you like to have something small to shove in your mouth every few seconds, then pushing the soybeans out of the pods is oddly satisfying!

Incidentally, Edemame is really good for you. It is high in protein, fiber, iron, and a host of other good things. I eat a bag-worth 3-4 times a week. It is so yummy and I’m doing something good for my body!

Pair Cauliflower Rice with Spicy Foods

Cauliflower rice is a great divider among many of us. I didn’t like it at first either, but I have found the key to enjoying it for myself & my family (and by family I mean me and my husband because my kids still won’t touch it).

Cauliflower rice works best when paired with a lot of flavor. The 3 most common dishes that we make with it all pack a punch, which is helpful because you don’t really recognize that it’s cauliflower….although full disclosure, I actually like cauliflower.

You feel full and satisfied, but not heavy and gross…I love it!

My favorite meal to make with it is fried rice….yes, fried cauliflower rice. Any easy typical fried rice recipe will do, just make sure there’s a lot of other stuff in it, like egg, ham, peas and plenty of low-sodium soy sauce. We also grill chicken and put that over the top. It almost tastes indulgent because you can eat a ton of it and not feel heavy. You feel full and satisfied, but not heavy and gross. Does that make sense? I love it!

The other 2 most common meals we make are stroganoff and curry. Both strong flavors are put over steamed plain cauliflower rice. So so yummy and these recipes help me NOT load up on carbs at the end of the day.

Okay, that’s it! If you pick just one of these suggestions and try it out I will consider that a huge win! Good luck on your amazing goal to include more veggies in your life! You will not regret it! You will feel better and lighter and I’m excited for you! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I want to cheer you on!


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