How to Turn A Veggie Hater to a Veggie Tolerator

Fresh Vegetables
Print icon
Mary Noon

Mary Noon

If there’s ever a time to try to eat more vegetables, it’s now. It’s summer, that long-awaited time when we relax a bit more and venture a bit farther. This is also the time when gardens thrive and farmers markets open. It brings me pleasure knowing I am eating locally fresh produce.

After all, we are aware of the many benefits of eating vegetables: Improving our heart health, reducing our cancer risk, aiding digestive health and supporting our weight-loss efforts. For some people, though, vegetables are not that appealing.

Fruits and vegetables should take up half of your plate, according to the My Plate model of eating promoted by the Department of Agriculture as well as the American Diabetes Association and other national health organizations.  This ensures a meal rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Some of my favorite ways to eat vegetables are listed below. I hope you relax a bit and venture out of your usual routine and select some new ways to consume more fruits and vegetables.

  • Spritz asparagus with olive oil spray and set on a piece of foil and grill. Turn occasionally. (Or roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes arranged on a sheet pan.) Sprinkle with fresh garden herbs like mint, oregano or basil before serving. This can be done with skewered Brussels sprouts and eggplant slices. A drizzle of balsamic vinegar also adds a nice finishing touch.
  • Add a green vegetable to your basic garden salad for more flavor and nutrition like frozen peas, fresh snap peas or blanched green beans.
  • Marinate cucumbers, diced red onion or thin-sliced radish in one part water, one part apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar. Leave in the refrigerator and enjoy throughout the day. Experiment with other fresh vegetables, too, like green beans and peppers!
  • Make a gazpacho with fresh tomatoes, green peppers, cucumbers, onions and garlic for a refreshing dish. Add fresh chopped herbs, lemon, juice and vinegar.
  • Try making a ratatouille with all the extra summer squashes, tomatoes and fresh basil. You can’t go wrong with any recipe.
  • Create a summer slaw with a mixture of various types of cabbage (try Savoy or red for a change), peppers, green onions, fennel, kohlrabi, carrots or even add a cup of fresh cooked corn kernels. Stir in a lite vinaigrette and add chopped herbs of your choice like cilantro, parsley or mint. It lasts in your refrigerator for days.
  • Use a fresh pepper as a container for your tuna, egg or chicken salad you pack for lunch.

Mary Noon is a registered dietician and nutritionist at Hartford Hospital. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Hartford Hospital Outpatient Nutrition Counseling at 860.972.2604.


What's New

Three people jogging on road, winter background.

Don’t Let Winter Freeze Your Exercise Routine: Here’s How

As the cold weather and snow begins to arrive in New England it’s time to start thinking of ways to keep exercising throughout the winter months.  As Dayle Stark, DPT (doctorate of physical therapy) from Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network explains, there are many ways to remain active no matter what...

Gifts for the Kitchen

A Dietitian’s Good-for-You Holiday Gift Guide

As the days count down, are you still looking for meaningful gifts for those few left on your holiday shopping list? I try to consider gifts that can make 2020 more healthy and productive.  Maybe a couple of these ideas will pique your interest enough to check out further. For...

Hartford HealthCare Names First Connecticut Courage Award Winners

At the age of 15, University of New Haven football team senior running back Chris Liggio lost both his parents in a murder-suicide. Taylor Herd, a senior guard on the Quinnipiac University women’s basketball team, suffered two ACL tears in the same knee in high school, and her father has...

Healthy Diet

Cancer Survivors: Find The Power of a Healthy Diet

By Diane Avino Dietitian Gray Cancer Center Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at Hartford Hospital Eating well is important during all stages of life, but it’s particularly important for cancer survivorship. Adequate nutrition is a crucial part of staying well through cancer treatments as well as promoting your long-term health. Eating...


As Cancer Treatment Evolves, a Focus on Reducing Side Effects

By Dr. Omar Eton Melanoma DMT Lead Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute Over the past two decades, there has been great progress in understanding the relationship between cancer and the defenses a patient can muster against it. This led to a Nobel Prize for James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo in...

Stomach Cancer

Stomach Cancer: Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore

By Dr. Bret Schipper Chief of Surgical Oncology The Hospital of Central Connecticut and MidState Medical Center Stomach, or gastric, cancer in the United States is somewhat rare, but it’s important to know the signs and symptoms. According to the American Cancer Society, about 27,500 cases of stomach cancer will...

How the mind reacts to tragedy.

How the Mind Responds to Endless Bad National News

Two shootings in two days at military bases in Hawaii and Florida barely made the evening news, and these tragedies didn’t result in much water cooler talk, either. Is this the new normal? Not necessarily, according to Dr. Anthony Ng, medical director of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network’s East...