How Can I Make Veggies Appealing?
I recently married a man with type 2 diabetes. He knows he is supposed to "eat healthy," but he doesn't like veggies—I've tried! He will eat potatoes with every meal, or a salad. But that's it! What to do? If he drank a daily V-8, would it make up for not eating vegetables? Name Withheld
Cassandra L. Rico, MPH, RD, responds:
I remember when my fiancé told me his favorite vegetable was a peanut. I knew that I had some work to do! But all it took was a little creativity and a bit of encouragement. Now he actually looks forward to vegetable dishes.
What to Know: A good goal for people with diabetes is to fill half their plate with nonstarchy vegetables such as greens, carrots, and asparagus. Potatoes are a starchy vegetable and high in carbohydrate, so it's important to keep potato portions smaller.
You can count 100 percent vegetable juice as a serving of vegetables, but don't use it to replace whole veggies. Juice is less filling, has less fiber, and can be high in sodium. If you do buy it, choose a low-sodium variety.
Possible Solutions: It's great that your husband likes salad. Add some different veggies to make his salads more colorful and nutritious! Try diced red pepper, cucumber, fresh basil, grilled asparagus, beets, or sautéed mushrooms and onions. Complement the veggies with any combination of dried or fresh fruit, toasted nuts, and light dressing.
Steamed veggies can get boring. Instead, try roasting veggies in the oven. It's simple and you'll be amazed at the flavors you discover. Here's how: 1. Lightly coat chopped vegetables with olive oil (just a teaspoon or two can go a long way). 2. Season with pepper, garlic, or other spices. 3. Spread the veggies out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast in an oven preheated to 425 degrees until they begin to brown.
Try other healthy cooking methods such as grilling or lightly sautéing veggies. These bring out the natural sweetness that you won't taste when you eat vegetables raw or steamed.
Get creative in adding veggies to meals. Use them in stir-fries and casseroles, or add cooked veggies to spaghetti sauce.
Find Out More: Looking for healthy vegetable recipes and meal ideas? Sign up for the American Diabetes Association's Recipes for Healthy Living and you'll get a new set of recipes each month: diabetes.org/recipes. It's free! You can learn more about planning meals and healthy eating with diabetes at diabetes.org/food and browse Diabetes Forecast recipes at forecast.diabetes.org/recipes.