October 1, 2022
How a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Preps Vegetables

How a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Preps Vegetables

Most people assume that because I’m a registered dietitian I love every fruit and vegetable there is. I certainly try, but I also firmly believe that not everyone has to love every vegetable in order to eat a well-balanced diet. There is certainly merit to eating as many different types of produce as possible, as the Cleveland Clinic points out. That’s because each color of fruit or veggie tends to pack high amounts of similar nutrients. As a result, when you eat a lot of different colors in your diet (sometimes referred to as “eating the rainbow”), you’ll stand a better chance of naturally meeting your nutritional needs each day.

Of course, some veggies are easier to love than others. Though I was well into adulthood before I ever tried them, beets were love at first bite for me. But I haven’t felt that way about some of the other vegetables that were new to me as an adult. You still won’t find plain cooked cabbage or okra on my plate, for example.

As a mom, I know all too well the importance of having my kids try fruits and vegetables prepared different ways. Past research has shown that this can lead young children to like more fruits and vegetables for the rest of their lives — that’s powerful stuff! I figured the same approach could work for me, so I have continued to try my least-favorite pieces of produce until I discovered how I enjoy them best. Here are my tips and tricks.

1. Zucchini

While it’s incredibly nutritious — low in calories while being a good source of potassium and an excellent source of vitamin C, among other nutrients, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) — zucchini can be a tricky veggie to prepare well. I often found it limp in texture and watery in flavor, two adjectives you don’t want used to describe your food. As a result, I often steered clear of this veggie even when it was plentiful at the end of the summer. How do I cook my zucchini now, you ask? I don’t! I prefer my zucchini raw, because I find it stays crisper that way. Raw zucchini can make a delicious base for a salad or a noodle replacement, and you don’t need fancy tools to enjoy it this way. Simply use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini into thin strips (except for the seeds) and dress it lightly with a homemade vinaigrette along with other veggies of your choice.