It’s no secret that to be healthy you have to eat healthily, we need nutrition, and we are what we eat, right? But how do you eat healthy when you HATE vegetables?

bowl of healthy food and someone about to eat it with a spoon

You can’t out train a bad diet. And our bodies need fruits and vegetables to get all the vitamins and minerals we need to stay healthy and be strong. Good food can actually heal your body. I was raised eating meat, bread, and lots of sweets, we ate a lot of junk food in my house. And when I got married, I lead my wife down that path too.

Over time, we gained a lot of weight, and neither of us felt very good. I got into working out, and I loved how that made me feel, but I could never lose the weight. My wife likes vegetables and always tried to serve them to me, but I would complain and didn’t want to try to enjoy them.

Now, as we are getting older, I really regret not encouraging her in what she was trying to do, because I see that our health could be even better and our weight certainly would be if I had listened to her. Bless her heart, she has kept trying to work on me.

She feeds us wonderfully healthy meals, and I am grateful for it. But it’s taken 20 years for her to convince me it’s the best thing. What a hard head.

Get your printable salad ingredient cheat sheet and smoothie ingredient cheat sheet here to balance your fruit and veggie creations every time!

A healthy diet is important for proper nutrition and overall wellness. It’s one of the biggest parts of your fitness journey. If you’re on a budget, check out these cheap nutritious foods to keep in your diet. You can make these changes with a few healthy food swaps.

If you want more of my weight loss story and how I grew up on little Debbies and soda and learned how to change my health and life through exercise and nutrition, check out this nutrition guide. It has some basic dos and don’ts that my wife and I used for me to lose 100 pounds and be on no medication at age 53. There are also some sample meal plans in there. It was a long process, not a quick fix, but if I can do it, so can you!

healthy food laid out on a board including salmon, avocado, blueberries and other bowls of fruits and vegetables and whole grains

How to like vegetables

The first thing I did to try to improve my eating habits was to imagine the body I wanted. I knew she was right about fruits and vegetables being the key to that. High fiber foods are great for weight loss and fruits and veggies have a lot. And we need antioxidants in foods for good health to save us from diseases. We all need a variety of nutrients.

I tried to put healthy vegetables in a dish with something I liked, like meat.

I thought about what I was eating and how it was good for me.

If I really hated it, I would wash it down with a guzzle of water.

Adding spicy sauce helps cover up the flavors I don’t like.

I asked myself, what would Arnold Schwartzenegger do. He’s a big hero of mine, and I want to look like him. I know he eats well.

I had to open my mind and decide that I would really try something. When I liked a vegetable prepared a certain way or the texture of it, I would compliment my wife’s cooking so she would know what I liked and make that more.

Flavor is key, so adding garlic, onions, peppers, herbs, salt and pepper and things like that helps tremendously.

Trying vegetables prepared in different ways until we found what we liked, but you have to keep an open mind while you’re doing it. The key is small healthy changes.

man eating healthy food

It’s so difficult to eat healthy when you hate vegetables. But you don’t have to hate them. There are so many benefits to eating fruits and vegetables. When I started eating mine, I noticed a lot of things were different. My body started to change. I was performing better at everything.

  • I was able to think more clearly
  • I had a ton more natural energy
  • Less nervous feeling
  • My skin cleared up
  • I lost weight
  • My joints weren’t as stiff
  • I felt better overall
  • I felt confidence knowing I was working on myself
  • It was easier to…you know…poop.
  • My blood work is off the charts fabulous.
  • I was better able to control my negative thinking

How to make vegetables taste better

My wife always says if there is a vegetable you hate, you just haven’t tried it the right way yet. She has done so much work to make things different ways for us. You can grill, boil, broil, bake, saute, roast, and so much more. And each technique makes a huge difference in flavor.

There are also tons of different ways to flavor things, and they all make a big difference. I think, growing up, when they served vegetables in the school cafeteria or I had stuff at my friend’s houses, they didn’t use enough salt and pepper and most vegetables were overcooked and mushy.

I don’t like slimy textured food, so this was a big deal to me and it’s how I viewed fruits and vegetables.

One of the best ways to cook vegetables is grilling. I love a little char and some crispy edges. I love most anything grilled. Just brush it with a dab of olive oil and add some salt and pepper, maybe a sprinkle of herbs, and then grill it up. The secret is to get the outside grilled nicely without over cooking it so it’s soggy.

Mixing vegetables into main dishes like eggs. Almost any vegetable tastes great in scrambled eggs or egg casserole. My wife makes them with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, shredded carrots or zucchini, asparagus, and so much more. She just adds a few diced onions, some salt and pepper, a little milk, and they make the veggies taste amazing.

These kinds of tricks make it much easier to eat healthy when you hate vegetables. She has a home daycare and uses thes same techniques on me as she does her daycare kids and she can get almost any kid to eat a lot more than they did when they came.

Making veggie casserole with some cheese or some noodles helps. You can start with a small amount of veggies in a lot, and then over time, lower the ratios of noodles and increase the vegetables. This helps you get used to it a little at a time.

Roasting vegetables until the edges are a little crispy helps get rid of sogginess. You roast them at a high heat until the centers are just tender, but the outside has a nice crunch. Try this sheet pan roasted cauliflower and butternut squash.

Eating colorful and flavorful dishes like this vegetable rainbow pasta can help. And this Sundried tomato pesto farro salad is amazing.

Adding a lot of spices to mask the flavors you don’t like helps a lot. I like spicy food, so I like a lot of pepper and hot peppers. You can use the canned jalapenos, a little bit of salsa, some hot sauce, whatever you enjoy. If you don’t like spicy, maybe there is another sauce you like that you could use as you get used to it, then try using less and less. I’m not a big fan of soup, but when my wife makes this butternut squash soup, I love it because of the coconut flavor. It’s all in making things the WAY you like them.

What about ranch dip, or a vinaigrette? There are a lot of ways to make vegetables taste different.

Making smoothies with fruits and vegetables does wonders for the texture. A lot of times, it’s not the flavor I hate, it’s the texture. Check out these beautiful and healthy smoothie bowls too! Check out these wonderful meals with vegetables for inspiration! This steak salad with strawberry vinaigrette is one of my favorites. Oh yum! Or you could try a marinated salad (a salad without lettuce that has some kind of acid) like this broccoli salad which is one of my favorites. This picadillo chicken taco salad is to die for too! One of my faves.

What vegetables I like now

Over the past 20 years I’ve gone from only liking fries to liking a lot of vegetables for dinner and other meals. I wanted to eat healthy, but it’s tough when you hate vegetables. I would like to say I love all vegetables, but I always have that deep burning desire for my wife’s awesome desserts that she makes so tastey.

She has tweaked much of my hate for veggies (and fruit) into a tolerance that is more palatable. I think my favorite thing is vegetable and egg casserole like this one she makes with her kids. She is also the master at hiding vegetables. She shreds up tons of veggies and tucks them in places where you never notice them. Even desserts.

I love asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower roasted in the oven or in the air fryer. I love avocados. They are better with garlic, onion, lime and salt and pepper, but I am learning to like them with just some salt and pepper too. Either way, they are super healthy. Another great roasted veggie idea is this roasted cherry tomato toast. DELISH!

And these Chicken Poblano Enchiladas are spicy and delicious and don’t even have tortillas. The peppers are the wrappers! Asian lettuce wraps are so flavorful and easy to make too! Everything is in one skillet, you mix it up and pop some in a lettuce leaf. One and done!

I love fruit smoothies with spinach. I have learned to like apples, bananas, peaches, strawberries, pineapple, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, and blueberries.

I prefer fresh or frozen vegetables to canned because they aren’t as mushy. I like raw vegetables with a little dip like carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, and cucumbers. Pickles are awesome too, pickled cucumbers, carrots, onions, and even okra.

So that’s pretty darn good for a kid whose favorite food groups were dinner rolls and little debbies. And I try to go much easier on that stuff too and remember it’s not a free for all. I have to keep in mind what is best for my body. You can eat healthy when you hate vegetables. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and I believe in you. If I can do it, anyone can.

Recipes for vegetable haters

There are a lot of great dishes you can make to learn to like vegetables. Here are some of my wife’s pasta dishes that you could start with. She starts toddlers with these and they always work. She makes me a great greek pasta salad that’s awesome too! It has chicken in it.

This taco soup is all vegetables and it’s nice and spicy and delicious. It would be a great place to start. And you can even make it with all cans of food so it’s easy. I’m not a big fan of soup, but this one is thick like chili.

And chili is another thing you can make with tons of shredded vegetables and beans and you’ll never realize all those veggies are there because the meat and the spices make them taste great.

Loaded with flavor and a great side for any dish. Can also be made in oven, these roasted brussel sprouts with parmesan cheese are awesome!

This pumpkin garlic pasta will satisfy all your savory fall cravings with it’s creamy texture and hint of seasonal spices. I’ll bet you won’t even notice the extra veggies!

This galette is full of vegetables yet with its lemon ricotta base and the sweetness of caramelized onions you’ll almost feel like you’re having dessert!

Soft, savory zucchini feta pancakes with lots of herbs, probably one of the tastiest ways of enjoying zucchini.

Cajun chicken pasta skillet is full of creamy goodness and good protein and slamming with flavor!

Check out these Rainbow diet recipes for even more inspiration. They are delish!

Vegetable recipes for picky eaters

This Creamy Brussels Sprouts Salad only has four ingredients, is full of crunch and has a rich, creamy, zippy dressing! It’s always a crowd-pleaser, and a great side dish year-round. It’s sure to take you from I hate Brussels sprouts, to, hmmm, these aren’t so bad.

These caramelized candied carrots with brown sugar and butter taste just like candy and are a great tasty side dish to any dinner. They are a great way to start adding veggies to your diet.

This Cauliflower Alfredo tastes just like Alfredo, only it’s silly smooth and lighter thanks to an entire head of Cauliflower being used. While a sneaky vegetable recipe, you’ll end up craving this Alfredo version on the regular.

Hiding the vegetables in this creamy pasta sauce is the way to go if your family hates vegetables.

Believe me, I know. When you think of delectable chocolatey muffins, zucchini is not the first thing that comes to mind, but I’m telling ya’ these are crazy good!

I hope these ideas inspire you to live your best life! I promise you’ll feel tons better if you give it a try. Now for a joke. What did baby corn say to mom corn? Where’s pop corn? Ha ha ha ha.

For more ideas on how to get yourself or your family to eat healthy food, check out this book!

And see what the 5 worst foods to eat are for arthritis here.