You don’t have to like broccoli

posted Jul 16, 2013, 9:03 PM by Merrin McGregor   [ updated Aug 20, 2013, 11:03 PM ]

There, I said it (and you can too). 

Broccoli is apparently President Obama’s favorite food, and it may be yours too..but it certainly doesn't have to be! With the seemingly endless selection of fruits and veggies to choose from in our markets and grocery stores today—many of which are in season all summer long—you can easily fill meals with your family’s faves (while omitting those that tend to cause a scene). 

Discover and serve ‘gateway’ fruits and veggies.
If you have a veggie-phobe crowd to feed, win them over with ‘gateway’ fruits and veggies, by starting with those you know they already like. For example, if they are willing to dip carrots and celery, they might also consider zucchini or cauliflower without too much dispute. Or if someone has a fondness for peaches, they might easily get hooked on nectarines, apricots or mangoes next. Kick-starting efforts to ‘accidentally’ increase fruit and vegetable consumption can be all about finding a place to begin and quietly building on favorites from there. And expanding options can lead to increasing consumption. Oops!

Similar but different.

So fine, some people (like President Bush) just don’t like broccoli. No problem. Substitutes abound! If broccoli really isn't at the top of the list in your house, but a recipe calls for it, make a sneaky swap with an alternative such as asparagus, leek, zucchini or spinach. Look for opportunities to quietly compromise between what they claim to prefer and what you’d like them to eat. 

Vegetables Accidentally, the cookbook, has an entire chapter of ‘Build-Your-Own’ recipes for family-friendly main dishes, where the basic framework and instructions are provided, but you select which fruits and vegetables work best for slyly winning over the diners at your table.

Up your cup-count and increase your years.

A recent study concluded that eating fruits and vegetables could add years to your life! According to the study, people who ate 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day lived 3 full years longer than those who didn't eat any. Even those who ate some fruits and vegetables lived longer than those who ate none. 

Your family doesn't like broccoli? Don’t buy it...don’t serve it...don’t even talk about it! Alas, if they don’t love all fruits and vegetables equally (and really, who does!?), there are always some that are preferred over others. Eating a few each day is better than none, so start with the ones most preferred (or least detested!). 

Are you getting enough? Check out USDA MyPlate and Canada’s Food Guide and to learn more. 

What’s your favorite fruit or veggie?

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