The Veggie Makeover: Fall in Love with Vegetables to Lose Weight and Feel Great

Makeover your vegetables to eat more of them and lose weight.

Low in calories, high in fluid, fiber and nutrients, veggies just might be perfect foods. Unfortunately, they’re really hard to love. Some are too bland, others too spicy. Some feel too strange or just don’t look like something you would want to put in your mouth. But you can find a way to love vegetables. Give yours a cooking makeover and you’ll eat more of them, feel better, look better and weigh a lot less.

There’s no Love in Boiling

Step one in a veggie makeover is to stop boiling. Just stop it! Boiling takes out the taste, texture, nutrients and love out of vegetables. Crunchy carrots become limp and tasteless lumps. Boiling transforms spinach from a crispy and tasty treat into a green gloppy mess. On top of that, boiling takes too long and is a pain in the neck compared to steaming, broiling or baking. So cut it out.

Variety Keeps the Love Flowing

It’s hard to stay in love with veggies when you eat the same ones day in and day out. Challenge yourself to try new varieties. Like putting a better wardrobe on your veggies, you get to try something new and exciting. Aim for trying a new vegetable or new veggie recipe once a week.

Baking in the Love

Any solid vegetable can become a “fry” very easily. With the right seasoning (go easy on the salt) you can cut veggies into strips and bake them on a cookie sheet to get them crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. If you are a purist, cut potatoes into strips or wedges, toss them in three tablespoons of olive oil, salt lightly and bake in a 400-degree oven for about half an hour (longer for thicker wedges and fries). Turn your “fries” a few times to make sure every side gets crispy and golden brown.

The adventurous veggie lover can try a version of this technique with (almost) anything: yams, carrots, eggplant, cucumber, asparagus, zucchini, and more. They don’t look foreign once you cut them into strips. Try seasonings like garlic, chili powder, paprika and a pinch of sea salt. Experiment with rosemary, cumin, black pepper and anything else hanging out in your spice cabinet. You are limited only by your imagination, but you will expand your veggie intake exponentially. When seasoned right, they are excellent as cold left overs cut up on a salad or as a reheated side dish.

vegetables, how to cook

Squeeze Love from Your Vegetables

If tomato juice is the only kind you like, you’re not doing it right. Carrots, celery and cucumber are wonderful juiced and seasoned just so. Try a little salt, garlic and onion. Some like to spice it up with a dash of hot sauce. You can try all kinds of different juiced vegetables you wouldn’t normally try by adding one or two fruits that you love, like apples, bananas or pineapple.

Make Veggies Easy to Tote

One great way to preserve veggies and make them easy to carry around as an anytime snack is to make viggie-fuit leather. They’re much healthier than store-bough fruit snacks and, admittedly, almost as tasty. Take 3 cups of green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach or romaine lettuce, 2 medium sized apples, a banana and 1.5 cups frozen mixed berries and 2 cups water. Pour it all into a blender and puree. Pour the mixture on a wax-paper lined baking sheet and dehydrate in oven at the lowest setting, usually 170 degrees. Leave it in for 8 to 14 hours, or until the center is smooth to the touch, not tacky or sticky. Let it cool, and then cut into portable and handy strips. Substitute the apples and bananas for other favorite fruits like pineapples or pears.

Sizzling with Veggie Love

Grills aren’t just for meat or kabobs. Any vegetable (or fruit for that matter) tastes great on the grill. All you have to do is brush sliced or halved veggies with olive oil, dash on a little salt and pepper and grill it up for a few minutes on each side. Seasoning rubs, like the ones you use on meat, are also very tasty.

All of these strategies will help you love vegetables again. The more you eat, the more you lose, so go for it!