Vegetables are (NOT) Boring

By: Avital Schwartz, ‘17, University Health Center Nutrition Peer Educator

Here is an experiment to try. Ask the next three people you see how many ways they can think of to eat carrots.

Most people will think of one, two, or three if they are a veggie-pedia.

The most common answer I get is “I eat carrots with hummus sometimes.” They usually sound very unexcited when saying this.

What if I told you I could think of 10 ways to prepare and eat carrots?  Yes, in fact, I bet I can list 10 ways to prepare and eat many vegetables that people are scared of, bored of, or never even tried before.  Let me take a crack at it:

Number 1: Carrots

carrots

(By the way, carrots have lots of beta carotene which makes them orange. Beta Carotene is an antioxidant, which is often referred to as “free radical scavengers”.  Beta carotene contributes to healthy skin and eyes.)

  1. Plain. Just crunch away; tried, tested, and tasty!
  2. In soup. Soft and flavorful, carrots have always been a favorite soup veggie for me. You can even add them to a canned soup to get some more veggies in your day!
  3. As carrot muffins or carrot bread. There are a few other ingredients involved, yes, but these recipes are usually easy and delicious!
  4. Roasted. Throw on some oil, salt, pepper, and put in the oven on 400 degrees for half an hour, and voila!
  5. In a smoothie. Carrots are actually a really sweet vegetable, and can add some nice taste and nutrition to a fruit smoothie.
  6. Grated. Something about grated carrots makes any dish look fancy. Add some on top of a salad, piece of chicken, stir-fry, or anything else.
  7. Stir Fried. Cut in half or quarters lengthwise, carrots give great flavor, and absorb great flavor as part of a stir fry.
  8. Pickled! If you are good at canning or pickling, this is a good one for you, they last and have a drastically different flavor than plain carrots!
  9. With peanut butter. This may sound funny, but this is a great combo, if you like peanut butter that is!
  10. In sushi. Ever had a California roll? These are always made with carrots!

That’s 10 folks! Ready for another one? How about tomatoes?

Number 2: Tomatoes

tomatoes

(Tomatoes are filled with lots of antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins and are a good source of fiber too! You can find them at the UMD Farmer’s Market)

  1. Plain of course. Just pop some cherry tomatoes or tomato rings into your mouth and crunch away, delicious! You can always dip them into hummus or ranch too.
  2. Tomato sauce. I’ve never met someone who hasn’t had tomato sauce, whether on pizza, pasta, lasagna, and more—most people don’t even realize they are having a vegetable!
  3. In salad. There are 2 salads I always recommend that use tomatoes and only TWO other ingredients—
    • Avocado, tomatoes, and hearts of palm (toss in lemon juice and salt)
    • Chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, with optional scallions (toss in olive oil,            salt, and pepper). Super quick and delicious!
  4. On a sandwich or bagel. A big juicy slice of tomato in your bagel or on your sandwich adds flavor, crunch, and nutrition, yum!
  5. In a smoothie. Tomatoes are another great smoothie addition because they add sweetness and liquid to whatever else you’re blending.
  6. Grilled. If you’ve never had a grilled tomato, make this a mission for this month—they are juicy, warm, and so good hot off the grill.
  7. Sun Dried. These dehydrated tomatoes are great plain, in a salad, baked into bread, and more. Best thing is, you can make them yourself!
    • Cut plum tomatoes in half, lay them out on a pan, drizzle with some oil, and put them in the oven overnight on 170 degrees.
  8. As soup. Warm tomato soup, with bread sticks or some cheese is irresistible. Many restaurants have this option, or you can make you own.
  9. As salsa. Fresh tomatoes can be made into a great and easy salsa, or you can just get some from the store.
  10. Roasted. Cut in half and broiled for a few minutes, cherry tomatoes become a fancy and easy snack.

That’s another 10 folks—can you believe it? In the comments, suggest your own 10, or add to these lists, be creative! Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

To learn more about renewing your relationship with vegetables, reserve your session with a University Health Center Nutrition Coach today by calling 301-314-5664 or emailing NutritionCoach@umd.edu.

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7 Responses to Vegetables are (NOT) Boring

  1. Thea B says:

    This is great! I can only think of 5 ways to eat cucumbers but Ill give it a shot. In a salad, alone with a little bit of olive oil and vinegar, in sushi, put them in water (I guess this is drinking them not eating) and pickled! How’d I do?

  2. selenas06 says:

    These a great tips! I plan on trying some of theses out, especially the carrots and peanut butter. Thanks!

  3. Sima says:

    You are SO cool!!!!!!

  4. eslattery96 says:

    Great tips! Veggies, like any food, get boring when prepared repetitively. As the odd man out who likes veggies more than fruits, I am always making lists of new fun ways to prepare and eat apples and bananas!

  5. Rebecca Heming says:

    I love your ideas Avital! One of my favorite soups to make in the Fall is lentil soup with celery, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and spinach. It’s a great way to get a ton of veggies in! As another suggestion, you can layer tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil topped with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Makes for a tasty snack or super simple appetizer. I’m definitely going to have to try adding tomatoes to smoothies!

  6. Ashley Statter says:

    I can concur, carrots and peanut butter are a hidden treasure…and an awesome purposeful snack. Love your blog Avital!!!

  7. What a great reminder that food can be healthy and taste great!!! I’ve never made my own sun dried tomatoes, I’m going to give that a try! Thanks for all the great ideas!

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