Create Delicious Tasting Vegetables That Don’t Ruin Your Diet
You’ve heard the news over and over: if you want to succeed with your weight loss and healthy eating program, getting more vegetables into your day is a must.
But…. how can you make these vegetables taste appealing?
You’d have no problem meeting your daily quota of 5-10 servings a day if you could slather them in melted cheese or butter, or deep fry them to perfection.
Alas, those methods will all take the healthy out of vegetables not to mention probably destroy your diet for the day.
You want to reap full nutritional benefits, maximize fat burning, all while actually enjoying what you’re eating.
Think it can’t be done?
This is for all those who don’t know exactly how to cook delicious veggies the clean way and without added oils.
With the right cooking techniques, you can certainly create delicious vegetable side dishes and snacks that you’ll be looking forward to.
Here’s a great reference “How-To” guide.
The trick with veggies, is using enough spices/seasonings to give them taste.
I love kosher salt as it flavors the food so much better.
I also use a roasted garlic & herb seasoning and smoked paprika on all my veggies.
Sometimes other spices too, just depends on my mood — but I always use a variety of spices, don’t be stingy and don’t be afraid of them.
Veggies tend to not taste great when they’re bland!
You can make just about any recipe you come across as long as you do three things:
— Eliminate all sugars and sugar-based ingredients
— Eliminate any veggies that contain carbs (unless your nutrition plan meal specifically calls for them). So as an example if your meal calls for carrots for example, just replace them with cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, mushrooms, brussels sprouts, even zucchini
— In place of oil, use cooking spray (or put oil in a spray bottle so there’s tiny amounts of it coating your veggies).
The Perfect Baked Vegetables
Baked vegetables is a relatively easy cooking technique and, when used properly, can create delicious baked vegetables that have retained their moisture.
[tweet_box design=”box_05″]The key here is to sub out the typical oil that you might use for veggies some low sodium broth instead.[/tweet_box]
A small amount of this added to your baked vegetables will help seal in the water, making sure they don’t dry out as they cook.
After coating them with the broth, simply add in whatever fresh spices you desire.
Rosemary, basil, oregano, or fresh dill all work beautifully.
Watch them closely as they bake however as you don’t want to over bake them or they’ll turn mushy.
Seriously Delicious Steaming
Steaming is another great option that provides a fast and healthy way to prepare your vegetables.
What’s more is that some vegetables such as kale and broccoli are actually healthier when steamed than cooked other ways.
[tweet_box design=”box_01″]To steam without turning your vegetables soggy, fill the bottom of a steamer with about two inches of water and then bring to a boil.[/tweet_box]
Once boiling, add vegetables placed in a steamer basket to the water.
Cover with a tightly fitting lid and then steam for around 5-10 minutes depending on the vegetable.
If you prefer your vegetables to have a slightly harder texture so they are more ‘Al dente’, steam for a shorter period of time, closer to 5-6 minutes.
By preparing the water before adding the vegetables, you ensure they are all cooked evenly.
Also be careful about steaming more than one kind of vegetable together.
As different varieties will require different lengths of cooking time, this could leave you with one vegetable overcooked.
Below you can see the various recommended steaming times for different vegetables.
• Artichokes – 25-40 minutes
• Asparagus – 7-13 minutes
• Green beans – 6-10 minutes
• Broccoli – 5-7 minutes
• Brussels sprouts – 8-15 minutes
• Cabbage – 6-10 minutes
• Cauliflower – 5-10 minutes
• Celery – 4-9 minutes
• Kale – 4-7 minutes
• Onions – 8-12 minutes
• Spinach – 3-5 minutes
• Zucchini – 5-8 minutes
Once you’ve steamed your vegetables, try adding a little kosher salt, cayenne pepper, or regular black pepper to enhance their flavor.
Or, pick up an olive oil based salad dressing and pour it into a spray bottle.
Then use this to lightly spray the vegetables, adding just a hint of flavor without the fat and calories.
Stir-frying is a great alternative to more conventional frying, which will quickly pack in fat and calories.
The nice thing about stir-frying is you’ll use just a little bit of olive oil, which is already considered a healthy fat and the nutrients from the vegetables will stay intact.
[tweet_box design=”box_04″]To stir-fry the health way, the most important thing is to ditch all the pre-made sauces you may have used in the past.[/tweet_box]
These are typically loaded with sugar and calories and will really set you back on your diet plan.
Instead, lightly coat your pan with just a touch of oil (half a tablespoon will do), or even better yet, just spray the pan with some non-stick spray.
Add in the vegetables you desire and then continuously stir them as they cook.
Keep cooking until they are crispy and ready to serve.
To add more flavor to this, try slicing up a clove of garlic and add it to the pan before you add in the vegetables, or spoon in some pureed ginger.
You can also drizzle a little low sodium soy sauce over your vegetables for added flavor if desired as well.
This technique will work great with just about every vegetable including zucchini, carrots, onions, mushrooms, peppers, baby corn, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage.
If you like, you can even make a meal of this, adding in a primary protein source as well.
Finally, the last delicious way to prepare your vegetables while keeping them healthy is to get grilling.
Especially during months when you have access to a BBQ, this can make for delicious tasting side dishes any day of the week.
If you don’t have a BBQ available, find a small counter top grill that can easily be used in replacement.
Once again, rather than lathering the vegetables and grill in oil, simply spray the grill with a little non-stick spray.
Then, create a delicious marinade for your vegetables first.
Here’s a quick and easy marinade that packs a lot of flavor, perfect if you love balsamic vinegar.
You can also try rice wine vinegar. This is so yummy that you’ll never miss the oil!
The marinade is very acidic, so marinate vegetables and seafood for less time to keep them from becoming mushy.1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepperMarinate in refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours
In general though when cooking vegetables without oil the more spices, the better.
Add this marinade to a seal-able plastic bag and then add in the vegetables.
Seal the bag and shake until they are properly coated.
From there, simply lay the vegetables on the grill and cook until your desired tenderness is reached.
Some of the best vegetables to grill include zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, red onions, eggplant and asparagus.
Grilling will bring out the natural flavor of the vegetables and give them a delicious taste that you’ll find, doesn’t need anything further.
Here are some more grilled veggie recipes that I love:
So don’t let yourself fall short on vegetables any longer.
You really can prepare them using healthy cooking techniques that keep them a perfect low calorie option to add to any meal.
As vegetables are so low in calories to start with, they are the perfect addition to any fat loss meal plan.