Meals with vegetables can be really delicious. All my life I have hated vegetables until my wife started learning about how food can be poison or medicine. When she upped our family’s vegetable game and started making more I will admit, I was a little distraught. But we have retrained our taste buds and there are many vegetables I just love. And most of them aren’t too bad.

sheet pan full of greens and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables have so many wonderful benefits for our bodies. They fuel us for exercise, protect us from disease, and give us what we need to live well. The wellness wheel won’t work if we don’t eat well. Eating healthy is a huge part of your fitness journey. Good food can actually heal your body.

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

How to change your taste buds to like vegetables

So what do you do when you hate vegetables like I did? To be honest, when we started, there were only about 6 or 7 vegetables that my wife even liked, she’s a real trooper. And my daughter and I were junk food junkies for sure. I was raised eating meat and dessert. That’s what my mom liked.

She died because of her bad habits, and so did my dad. So when my wife wanted to change our lifestyle, I knew she was right. I didn’t want to end up not being able to move because my body was letting me down like my mom. I want to live well while I’m alive. So I had to get my head in the game. But my food cravings were dire!

A child will see a food as new until they have been exposed to it 11 times. My wife has a home daycare, so after taking care of over 100 kids over the past 27 years, she is an expert at getting people to try new foods. She dealt with our daughter and me the same way. (Ask our daughter sometime how she asked for prayer at church because her mom was mean and making her try new food)

But being a certified personal trainer, I also knew that I could not out train a bad diet. I work out like crazy and I love it, but I still struggle with my weight. And I have health problems because of it. My blood work has improved so much. I’m breathing better, thinking better, and living better since she changed our family’s diet. And we need antioxidants in foods for good health to save us from diseases. You can make these changes with a few healthy food swaps.

And how our family did it was a little bit at a time. First, we started adding a few healthy foods to our diet. We would add a piece of fruit at breakfast, and add a vegetable at dinner. So we went from 1-2 fruits and veggies a day (mostly fries and ketchup) to 3-4. From there, we kept adding more and swapping unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones.

Over time, we began to enjoy those tastes more and more and now there are many vegetables that I really like. Broccoli is my favorite. I just love it. I like it raw better than cooked, but it’s good both ways. And my wife always says if you don’t like something, it’s because you haven’t found HOW you like it yet, so keep trying new ways of cooking.

all kinds and colors of lovely vegetables piled high on a board

Reset taste buds

The best way to eat vegetables is roasted. Roasting them gives them a more concentrated and sweeter flavor. It’s just good. I don’t know how she does it, but she does. So check out the recipes below for ways to make them taste better. And her roasted broccoli recipe and air fryer vegetables are a great place to start! You can also try this sheet pan cauliflower and butternut squash that’s super tasty. She is a great cook.

Raw vegetables are really good too. You can start with a really good, chemical-free ranch dip on your veggies and then work your way to eating less of it until you don’t need dip anymore. I love them plain now. And you can make amazing salads like this broccoli salad with Greek yogurt dressing that will change your mind about broccoli.

Once you are eating vegetables your tastes will change over time. We are doing a sugar detox right now because we still eat too much sugar, and I’m just amazed at how different all food tastes when I’m not having ice cream and candy all the time. Everything tastes sweeter, even vegetables. So quitting processed foods that are full of salt and sugar will really help to reset taste buds to taste the actual flavor of the food.

Use healthy dressings dips and sauces until you get there. My wife started us out by putting lots of bacon in everything. It makes vegetables taste GREAT! And over time, she reduced the amount to just a slice or two of bacon. But we were already in love with the flavor. You can check out her world-famous green beans and cabbage recipes that bacon really makes sing. And this rainbow vegetable pasta is a winner too!

The next great idea she had was learning to hide vegetables. Anything tastes great in eggs, or chili, or spaghetti sauce. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but making an egg casserole and hiding some vegetables in it is a great way to get them in and get used to eating them. This Cajun chicken pasta is a great example of a way to enjoy them with other things you like. And these spicy chicken burrito bowls are another great way to hide vegetables in delicious places. Also, these chipotle chicken kabobs are a winner.

She makes a great spaghetti sauce that’s full of pureed pumpkin, shredded zucchini and carrots, and more. And you never know it’s in there. She does it with chili too. There are more vegetables than there is meat, but you can’t even tell. The spices make it work.

Don’t focus on perfection or restriction at first. Start out with exposure to healthy foods and work your way to making them healthier. If you are doing this while you are working out, you are going to see huge benefits. A salad with lots of dressing and bacon bits is a lot of calories, but there is nutrition in there and it’s still better than cake.

So eat the salad and work your way to making it a totally healthy salad. You can do this. I did it and I was the worst. I believe in you! The nutrition in what you’re adding is going to give you more energy and make you feel better so you have more energy to work out more too. It’s going to be great!

And one more tip is to eat lots of colors of fruits and vegetables because you eat with your eyes first, and those pretty colors will tempt your eyes and delight your senses.

Recipe with lots of vegetables

tomato cucumber salad with cheese, onions and herbs in a bowl

Healthy meals with vegetables

There are even more great meals with vegetables that are delicious besides the ones she has developed. Here are a bunch of great veggie meals from other blogs.

  • This insanely Easy Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie is made in less than 30 minutes! This hearty meatless recipe is just 10 main ingredients, gluten-free, allergy-free, featuring protein-packed lentils, veggies, and simple dairy-free mashed potatoes! Healthy and budget-friendly comfort food the whole family will love and devour!
  • A Classic Italian Pasta Salad that’s gluten-free, vegan, and allergy-free! The cold pasta salad you love, with tri-colored pasta, fresh veggies, and a healthy homemade Italian dressing! A super easy and quick meat-free vegetarian and dairy-free recipe that’s a perfect side dish to feed any crowd!
  • This easy Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili is a dump-and-go crockpot meal you can set and forget! This healthy three bean chili is vegan, gluten-free, allergy-free, and full of plant-based protein, veggies, and bold Southwest flavors! A comforting dinner for a crowd or meatless make-ahead and freezer-friendly meal you can meal prep!
  • This classic Italian meal made in the CrockPot is an easy and healthy recipe the whole family will love. Chicken cacciatore has a rich tomato sauce, tender chicken, and is a great way to sneak more vegetables into your diet.
  • There is nothing like a rich coconut milk curry sauce to get you to eat your vegetables. This vegan Indian recipe is loaded with zucchini, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes plus chickpeas for protein and flavor-packed meal.
  • I make these sheet pan sausages once a week. Whatever veggies I have on hand is what I use – onions, radishes, brussels sprouts, green peppers, squash. The possibilities are endless. And it’s always amazing!
  • Learn how easy it is to make delicious Fajita Veggies at home! Sautéed bell peppers and onions that are tender-crisp with a bit of charring and seasoned with a super flavorful blend of spices. So good and so incredibly versatile too – use them in fajitas, as a quick and easy side dish, or to top just about everything!
  • This Chinese-style egg and vegetable fried rice is the perfect summertime vegetarian dinner. It is simple, delicious, and super healthy.
  • This Chopped Veggie Salad recipe is the perfect summer side dish! It features a combination of fresh summer vegetables and feta cheese tossed in a simple tangy vinaigrette to bring it all together. Super easy to make, colorful and so delicious!
  • This Pasta Primavera is perfect for getting more vegetables in your diet! You can use the ones in the recipe, or just pick your favorites!
  • Mediterranean Pasta Salad is packed with delicious vegetables and topped with a creamy shallot dressing! It’s a great way to eat your meals with vegetables!
  • Vegetable Stew With Dumplings. How to make a hearty and flavorsome vegetable stew using delicious root vegetables and homemade herby dumplings. The perfect combination for the cold winter months.
  • Check out these beautiful and healthy smoothie bowls too! And even these snacks have a bit of veggies in them as well as a ton of pumpkin flavor!

If you give it a try, you are going to learn to like more vegetables over time. Don’t give up, because your health is worth it. And even if you don’t like as many vegetables as my wife does, more like me, you will still expand your horizons and improve your health. It’s going to be great! I can’t wait to hear all about your success!

Here are some more ideas that might help you on your health journey: