How To Prepare Vegetables Even Your Pickiest Eater Will Love

Slow-carb recipe tips: preparing delicious vegetables
On the slow-carb diet, one thing you’re going to eat more of than you probably ever have before is vegetables.

It seems really obvious, but a lot of people just don’t get it. To lose weight, they eat less calories, and that – to them means smaller portions of bread, fats, and sugars. But really, that’s not the way to do it.

It seems like a secret that no one knows but is right in front of your face. The best way to lose weight is really by eating more: more veggies.

Think about it this way: in a cup of whole oats you have 607 calories and 103 grams of carbohydrate (that’s more carbs that I eat in a day). In a cup of green beans, you have 44 calories and only 10 grams of carbohydrate. Sure, the grains might fill you up more, but that’s what fat and protein is for. I’d take 3 cups of green beans over a cup of oatmeal any day (and I love oatmeal)!

But I don’t like vegetables

I’ve actually heard someone talk about how they’re tired of choking down vegetables. Now, I understand it can get old quick. I can only stand broccoli in my omelet for about a week before I switch it out for spinach or kale. But vegetables could really be an untapped market in weight loss nutrition!

So I want to help out a bit. I’ve learned to love vegetables, and I’m trying different kinds I hadn’t considered before. Maybe one day I’ll write a post about different – and possibly strange – vegetables, but today I’m going to skip ahead to some cooking tips.

You see, loving veggies probably has a lot to do with the way you cook it. Personally, I love the flavor in vegetables. They come packed with a lot on their own. But often the cooking method can really seal the deal.

Roasted

This is a very easy way to prepare some delicious vegetable sides, especially if you’re already roasting some meat besides. They can go in together, and sometimes even in the same pan.

Technique: Prepare your veggies in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle some cracked sea salt and pepper on top. Bake in a 375 to 400 degree oven (F) for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender.

Recommendation: Try roasting asparagus, cauliflower, onions, squashes, or sweet potatoes.

Grilled

It won’t be long before we’re all in relatively warm weather and smelling the familiar scent of coals blazing under some delicious meats. You grill because you like the flavor it gives to your chicken or steak. Why not also give that same flavor to your vegetables?

Technique: Much like roasting, toss your vegetables with some olive oil. This helps the browning and helps keep them from sticking too much. Sometimes I’ll form a tray out of aluminum foil if I’m grilling smaller veggies like cherry tomatoes, onions, or sliced peppers, but you can also just lay them right on the grill.

Recommendations: There’s nothing like grilled onions, peppers, zucchini, or eggplant. You have to watch some of the softer ones, though, because they get really soft really quick.

Stir fry

When people see the word “fry”, they automatically think it can’t possibly be healthy. But you know better, and you know that nice fats from oils are an essential part of a solid diet. Because you’re using a hot pan, though, you can’t just use any oil. I recommend using coconut oil or clarified butter when you stir fry.

Technique: To stir fry, use high heat with a few tablespoons of oil. When the pan is hot, toss in your veggies and keep tossing until cooked to your liking. I love to add just a smidge of sesame oil at the end to give it sort of a rich nutty flavor.

Recommendation: Some of my stir fry favorites include cabbage, green beans, and broccoli.

Sautéed

With a nice saute, you can thoroughly heat vegetables without wilting them too much. This is great for vegetables that are soft anyway. Again, you’ll need to use a fat with a high smoke point, like coconut oil or clarified butter.

Technique: Sauté is much like stir fry, only the action isn’t as intense. Heat your pan and a bit of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Toss in your chopped or sliced vegetables, stirring just occasionally.

Recommendation: You’ll love sautéed zucchini (my favorite), tomatoes, onions, and peppers.

Steamed

Most people might say this is the healthiest way to cook vegetables. I really don’t think it matters, except for flavoring purposes. What I like about steaming vegetables is that they won’t take on any extra flavors, and they often beautifully exhibit their natural colors. I love how green broccoli gets when steamed, for example.

When you steam, you’re just a step away from raw. They’re soft enough to not crunch, but still natural enough to show you what their real flavors are.

Technique: You can get steaming inserts for pots, and that’s probably the most recommended way to steam. Basically you add water to your pot, stick the veggies in the steaming tray, and cover. Cook time will depend on the vegetable and your preference. Check it, and when it’s as soft as you want, it’s done.

Alternatively, I’ve steamed veggies in the microwave. In a bowl, you can put a few tablespoons of water and add the vegetables. Most microwaves these days have a “fresh vegetable” button or setting you can use that will pretty much cook them perfectly.

Recommendation: My favorite vegetables to steam are carrots, parsnips, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Raw

Of course you don’t really have to cook your vegetables, now do you? Many vegetables can lose some nutrients in the cooking process, and sometimes their flavor even changes.

When you get your taste buds back under control, you will actually begin to find really delicious flavor in raw vegetables. I personally love to eat raw peppers, carrots, celery, and tomatoes just to name a few. Experiment, and you’ll find a whole new world of flavor!

We want to hear from you! What’s your preferred method of enjoying a nice veggie? Lay it out in the comments!

photo credit: thebittenword.com

Jason spends most of his time writing about his adventures with fitness on the slow-carb and paleo diets at his blog, FindingMyFitness.com. Want even more recipes? Check out his newsletter and get 10 more free slow-carb recipes.

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About Jason

Working on my own fitness, I love sharing with you what I find. You might recognize me from Finding My Fitness.

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One Response to How To Prepare Vegetables Even Your Pickiest Eater Will Love

  1. Laura February 16, 2012 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks Jason. I couldn’t agree with you more – loving vegetables is all about how you cook them. I was surprised to learn that microwaving actually doesn’t completely obliterate all the nutrients and is actually better than steaming, boiling, etc. – though microwaved veggies are a bit gross in my opinion. I say sacrifice some nutrients for taste if it’s going to get you to eat more veg! I’ve gotten quite into “green smoothies” and salads lately to try to get more raw veggies in.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/health/17real.html

    http://www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/Microwave-cooking-and-nutrition.shtml

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