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Making friends with our veggies

By Sonia Salfity , Family Flavours - Aug 29,2021 - Last updated at Aug 29,2021

Photos courtesy of Family Flavours magazine

Food is a lot like friends. The unhealthy junk is the toxic friendships we need to ditch. The nutritious selections are the healthy friendships each of us needs to foster. As I rediscover how much I love tomatoes, eggplants, broccoli and other produce, I realise that forgotten healthy foods are like the childhood friends we used to have.

I discovered the simplest way to shop for veggies is to take the time to go through the produce aisle instead of zooming past and just getting the usual selections. It’s amazing how much variety is out there that is delicious and nutritious. This is a win-win situation none of us can afford to pass up. Most of us don’t get up in the morning craving Brussel sprouts, yet they are loaded with fibre and vitamins. Think of those as you’d think about people who are not that much fun to be around, but who you can always count on to be there for you when you need them. Those are the true friends who always have your back in good times and in bad, so you want to nurture those friendships. So it is with the vast array of veggies that will help us get stronger the more we make them a staple in our kitchens.

Planning for success

One of my favourite choices is eggplant which is very easy to use in so many different ways. However, if it’s not in your kitchen, then you’re not going to eat it. Not having vegetables readily available in our fridge is like not having friends to talk to when we need them. We’ve all been guilty of staying too busy with our hectic schedules that we fall behind when it comes to staying in touch with our friends. It’s not that we consciously choose to forget them; it’s just that we’re not intentional enough in investing in our friendships, which takes time. The same is true with our veggies. We don’t wake up in the morning deciding that we will not eat veggies that day! Yet somehow, the day goes by, and we miss the opportunity to consume those nourishing foods because we failed to plan.

Keeping track

Intentionality leads to planning and planning leads to action. The first step is to intentionally put our veggies at the top of our grocery list, then purchase them and make sure to store them in a place we can see them. How many times have you disposed of wilted and expired foods because they sat unnoticed at the bottom of your fridge? Keeping track of what you have is a way to ensure using it before it spoils.

Modelling a healthy relationship

The next step is to decide how much time you can afford in preparing your meal so that you can decide which way to cook it. Ensure to make enough to share with the family so that you’re not the only one eating healthy vegetables. The more your kids see you have a friendly relationship with veggies, the more likely they are to reach for them too. It becomes a natural part of their day.

I still recall the day our neighbour made me sit down at her kitchen table until every last pea on my plate was eaten. It was absolute torture to sit and swallow those peas as a seven-year-old. Perhaps had I known why veggies are so essential for our bodies, it might have been easier for me to cooperate!

You can find kid-friendly YouTube videos that explain the importance of eating well, as these visuals help us stay on track. It’s also beneficial to have your child hear it from another source beside yourself because often, they listen to others more than they listen to their parents.

 

Sonia’s veggie tip

I’ve learned how to cook my veggies to make them more tasty and desirable. My favourite is to toss them in a little bit of olive oil and sea salt and put them under the broiler for about five minutes on each side. If you like them cooked more, cover and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re in a hurry, steam them in the microwave and then sauté them for a few minutes on each side on the stove with a touch of olive oil. 

 

Reprinted with permission from Family Flavours magazine

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