by Lisa Hugh MSHS RD LDN CLT
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I work with a lot of patients who want to eat healthy, nourishing, less processed foods.
They know WHAT they want to do (eat better) and WHY (be healthier, feel better) but get caught up on the HOW.
For most people, eating more vegetables is an important goal. Vegetables supply fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Vegetables are low in calories and naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan. The health benefits of vegetables are important. Eating more veggies is associated with better digestive health, less constipation, weight management, satisfaction at meals, heart health, blood pressure control, and cancer prevention.
3 Reasons People Don’t Eat Vegetables
I’ve observed three main reasons that people don’t eat vegetables regularly.
- They THINK they don’t like vegetables.
- They are “allergic to everything.”
- They believe that eating vegetables is going to be super expensive and take a long time.
How To Eat More Vegetables – Use This List Of Vegetables
To help work through these barriers, I use a comprehensive list of vegetables as a tool and starting point for a conversation on vegetables.
The list I use is below. It includes most common non-starchy vegetables. Now, I know that some foods seem to fall under different categories (i.e.: is tomato a fruit or a vegetable?). This list is mainly for meal planning purposes, not for science, botany or gardening.
Starchy vegetables such as sweet potato and butternut squash are included in a separate list (coming soon!).
I’ve separated out starchy vegetables in to separate list because these foods are higher in calories and carbohydrates. (Both are good for you – they just have different nutrition profiles and different roles in our diets.)
How To Use A List of Vegetables To Expand Your Diet
So, if you are thinking about eating more vegetables, you can use the list of vegetables and use these steps:
- Cross off any vegetables that you are allergic / intolerant / sensitive to. (Include any suspected food triggers.) Better to be safe than sorry.
- As you look at each vegetable, think about if you have ever liked it or eaten it, in any form.
- Think about vegetables in all forms, not just as a steamed side dish. (Lots of people don’t like steamed carrots as a side dish, but like shredded carrots in a tossed salad or diced carrots in soup. One patient of mine thought he hated cabbage (and most vegetables, for that matter) until we did this exercise and he realized he liked coleslaw. He didn’t think of coleslaw as cabbage or as a vegetable.)
- Think about how these vegetables are sold: fresh from the farmers market, fresh at the grocery store, precut in the salad section, frozen chopped vegetables, dried, powdered. We often say that fresh is best. I believe that convenience is king and consistency is queen. What good is it to buy a bunch of fresh vegetables only to have them spoil because you didn’t have time to wash, peel, cut, grate and cook them?
- Consider how vegetables are served. We all know about salads and steamed vegetables. These are great, but can get really boring really fast. Do you like soup, stir fry, baked goods (zucchini bread, carrot cake), sautéed vegetables, roasted vegetables? Raw vegetables can be sliced, diced, and grated. These raw vegetables can be added to sandwiches, salads, and sauces Raw Vegetables can be served as a garnish on top of hot soup or dipped in to dressing, hummus, yogurt dip, peanut butter or almond butter.
- Are there any vegetables on this list that you’ve thought about trying? It is ok to make a plan to just try new vegetables. Sometimes we think that are goal have to be big or that we need to make significant changes. In reality, taking baby steps can be the best route to reaching your goal. If you try a new vegetable, you might find that you like it right away. If you completely hate it, well, no big deal. If it is ok, but not amazing, try it again, but this time, can you prepare it differently?
- Consider Food Chaining. This is a specific strategy that is used in children who eat a limited number of foods. Food Chaining can be adapted to the goal of eating more vegetables. The idea is to start with a food that you already like and are familiar with. For example, if you know that you like iceberg lettuce and baby spinach in salads, maybe you will like other similar salad greens. Jumping to sauteed kale or southern style collard greens might be too new or feel intimidating. But trying baby kale or baby collard greens mixed in a salad along with iceberg lettuce and baby spinach might be an easier step. This can allow you the chance to get familiar with kale and collard greens. After you are more familiar with these vegetables you may have more interest in trying them in other dishes.
Now, how can you incorporate these vegetables in to your usual routine? (At one point, my children wouldn’t eat carrots in any form EXCEPT shredded carrots added to their favorite foods. It wasn’t the usual way that carrots are served, but it worked. Adding powdered vegetables to smoothies is an easy move. Frozen vegetables are so easy.)
List Of Vegetables
This table lists a variety of vegetables with information on how they can be purchased and how they can be eaten, cooked, and served. I’ve included links to specific products that are Single Ingredient Groceries, meaning the product contains only a single ingredient – no added sugars, chemicals or hidden ingredients that could be hidden food triggers. I’ve also included links to recipes and pictures that show how these vegetables can be served and used in meals.
ATTENTION: DRAFT IN PROGRESS – THIS LIST WILL BE UPDATED SOON.
|VEGETABLE||HOW & WHERE TO BUY||HOW TO SERVE|
(also knowns as Chinese Spinach)
|Amaranth leaves aren’t commonly sold in US grocery stores, yet (but maybe they will be soon).Amaranth Leaves may be available at some specialty grocery stores and at farmers markets. Also, if you like to garden, Amaranth Leaves might be a fun, new choice.Lastly, you can also buy Amaranth Seeds easily online.||Amaranth Leaves can be served:Sautéed (Like in this Sautéed Amaranth Leaves recipe) Raw in saladsRaw on sandwiches.In smoothies.|
|Artichoke||Fresh Artichokes are commonly sold at grocery stores and super markets. Artichoke Tea can be purchased online. Some products are blends with other ingredients. This one contains only a single ingredient. Canned Artichoke (watch out for added ingredients; most canned artichokes contain citric acid. These may be more convenient than fresh if citric acid is not a trigger for you).Marinated Artichoke (watch out for added ingredients and seasonings that may be a trigger).Frozen Artichoke||Fresh artichokes can be steamed, boiled, grilled, or fried or roasted. Artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker, slow cooker or Instant Pot. Artichokes can be stuffed with flavorful fillings.Artichokes can make flavorful fillings (and hummus!) as well. Artichoke Hearts can be sauteed and served in soup, salads, pasta salads, and on pizza. Artichokes can be part of one-pan meals alongside chicken and other ingredients. Artichoke Leaves can be dipped in to flavorful sauces.Younger, smaller and tender artichokes can be added to egg and pasta dishes. Artichoke can be used to make flavorful dips that can be served with chips, casseroles, tapenade, amazing artichoke squares, and frittatas. Artichoke is also made in to herbal teas.|
|Asparagus||Fresh asparagus is commonly sold in grocery stores.Frozen asparagus is easy to use and is salt free. Canned asparagus is common but watch out for added ingredients. This canned White Asparagus contains just asparagus and salt.Asparagus is also sold in jars. This product contains just asparagus and salt, no hidden chemicals or food additives.Freeze Dried Asparagus is a single ingredient food.Asparagus Powder is also available.||Asparagus is tasty (and healthy) and can be served many ways including:Roasted AsparagusGrilled AsparagusAsparagus SoupCooked in to main dishes like PIzza, Quiche and Risotto. Keto Style AsparagusChopped in a salad. Sauteed. |
|Bamboo Shoots||Fresh Bamboo Shoots are not too common in conventional grocery stores but may be found through specialty sellers and at farmers markets or specialty sores. Canned Bamboo Shoot |
Dried Bamboo Powder (can be added to smoothies)Dried Bamboo Shoots (caution with added preservatives
|Bamboo Shoots can be cooked several ways: Japanese Bamboo RiceIn a Stir Fry with BambooBraised Bamboo Shoots (use fresh, not canned for this recipe.Powdered bamboo can be added to smoothies.|
(green, wax, Italian, long beans) – These are lower in carbohydrates
compared to beans on the Starchy Vegetable List (coming soon!). ||Fresh Green Beans and similar beans can be purchased online, in grocery stores, and at farmers markets. Canned green beans and canned wax beans are vey convenient.Freeze Dried Green Beans are shelf stable and will keep for a long time.||Green Beans are popular as an easy vegetable side dish.Roasted Green Beans in a modern twist on classic green bean casserole. Green beans can be roasted with simple ingredients for flavor. Great beans go great with almonds. Green beans give a pretty green color in pasta salads and other salads. They can be kept whole, cut in 1-2 inch pieces or chopped in to bite size pieces. Green beans can feature in stir fries and fried rice. Green and wax beans can be combined in salads. Three Bean Salad is popular on salad bars and pot-lucks. Green Beans are wonderful in classic vegetable soup. Beans are versatile – they do great in one-pot meals.|
|Beet||Beets are commonly sold in a variety of ways:Fresh Beets in the Produce Section of the Grocery Store (with or without the greens / leaves).Fresh Beets are often sold at Farmers Markets.Canned BeetsBeet ChipsCanned and Jarred Pickled Beets.Beet Powder.Pre-cooked, vacuume packed Beets.||Beets can be served:Pickled (For example, Pickled Beets and Eggs or Pickled with Turnips). On Salads (straight of the can or jar – or use pickled beets or roasted beets). Roasted Beets can be served as a side dish or a salad. Beet Greens are great sauteed in a little oil with salt and pepper or other seasoning. Beet powder can be mixed in to water, smoothies or other beverages. It is associated with increased fitness performance.|
|Bell Peppers (Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Yellow Peppers)|
Bell Peppers are sometimes considered a super food and can be purchased in several ways. Fresh Bell Peppers are commonly sold in grocery stores. Dried Bell Peppers are sold as a bulk food as well as a seasoning. Canned and Jarred Bell Peppers are available – caution with added and hidden ingredients.
|Bell Peppers are versatile ingredients that can be used in many ways. Check out these ideas:Chicken Parm Stuffed PeppersMexican Stuffed PeppersItalian Stuffed Peppers(Oh, and stuffed peppers can be made in the Instant Pot.)Roasted Red Pepper Pasta SauceRoasted Red Pepper Dip Bell Peppers with Lentils Bell Peppers as part of a flavorful base or soup. Roasted and added to dishes like lasagna.Bell Peppers are great with Mexican flavors and eggs. Check out this recipe for Mexican Quiche. Bell Peppers can be added to sandwiches and salads.|
|Bitter Mellon||Bitter Mellon is sold as a supplement
to assist with diabetes and blood sugar. If you have diabetes or take
any medication that affects blood sugar, please discuss Bitter Mellon
with your healthcare provider before taking it as a supplement or adding
it to your diet. |
Fresh Bitter Melon is sold in specialty grocery stores and online retailers.Bitter Melon is also sold as Dried Bitter Melon, Bitter Melon Tea, Bitter Melon Powder.
|Bitter Mellon can be served:In a smoothie or juiceIn Chinese Stir-FrySauteed Caribbean style.In a Salad.As a garnish.Stuffed with meat.Bitter Mellon Soup (Vietnamese Style)|
Choy and Baby Bok Choy is somewhat common in conventional grocery
stores. It may be available in some Farmers Markets and Specialty
Grocery Stores / Asian Grocery Stores. |
Bok Choy sometime retains sandy soil within its leaves so be sure to wash it really well. It might require a few soaks & changes of water.
|Bok Choy is a popular Asian vegetable that can be cooked in a variety of ways:Bok Choy Miso SoupIn a slow cooker – Vietnamese StyleAs part of an easy stir fry. In a veggie taco |
You could also chop it up raw and use as a crunchy taco or sandwich topping.Raw in a salad.
|Broccoli||Fresh Broccoli is a common vegetable at conventional grocery stores and farmers markets. Frozen Broccoli is cost effective and easy to steam or add to soups and stir fry dishes. Powdered Broccoli and Powdered Sprouted Broccoli can be added to smoothies, beverages, soups and stews.|
Dried Broccoli is available as a shelf-stable product and can be added to soups and stews.
|I’ve found that people who love Broccoli like it in just about any dish or style of cooking, including a simple Steamed Broccoli. But when people don’t love steamed broccoli as a side dish, they think they don’t like broccoli at all. But broccoli can be so much more:This Broccoli Salad is a great party dish or side dish. Broccoli can be a comfort food in a Cheesy Broccoli Casserole. Broccoli is beautiful with Red Cabbage. Beef and Broccoli is popular and easy to cook. Broccoli is great Instant Pot Keto Mash.Broccoli Egg Cups are a great way to add vegetables to breakfast. Broccoli Slaw is a great twist on traditional cole slaw.|
|Broccoli Rabe||Broccoli Rabe is sometimes sold in conventional grocery stores as well as farmers markets and higher-end grocery stores.|
|Broccoli Rabe is also known as Rapini and is used in Italian cuisine. It can be cooked and served several ways including:Sauteed Broccoli RabeBroccoli Rabe and Pork SandwichPasta Frittata with Broccoli Rabe|
|Brussels Sprouts||Fresh Brussels Sprouts and Frozen Brussels Sprouts are commonly sold in most grocery stores. Fresh Shaved Brussels Sprouts are really easy to use. This product can be sauteed, used raw as a crunchy topping on tacos and sandwiches, added to salads and made in to a slaw. Pickled Brussels Sprouts are available – watch out for hidden ingredients.||People seem to either love or hate Brussels sprouts. People who hate them have often only tried steamed brussels sprouts, but they can be enjoyed lots of different ways, such as:Roasted Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprouts SlawBrussels Sprouts SaladStir Fry Brussels SproutsBrussels Sprout FrittersCreamy Brussels Sprouts|
|Cabbage: Green Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Napa Cabbage||Fresh Green Cabbage, Fresh Red Cabbage and Napa Cabbage are commonly sold at grocery stores and farmers markets.Shredded Cabbage is often sold near the salad section. It can be added to salads, made in to a slaw (such as cole slaw), used as a crunchy toping on tacos and sandwiches added to salads or sauteed.||Cabbage is a hearty vegetable that is used in lots of cuisines. Stuffed Cabbage LeavesFried with Noodles (popular in Eastern European cuisine — this recipe can easily be adapted to be vegan, gluten free, egg free, etc. Southern Style Fried CabbageCabbage Slaw on Fish Tacos. Traditional Cole Slaw Jamaican Steamed CabbageSourkraut is made from Cabbage and can be made at home. Kimchi is made from napa cabbage and can be made at home also.|
(If you can’t eat celery, read this for a list of celery alternatives.)
|Fresh Celery is common in most conventional grocery stores. Celery Juice is really popular right now (be sure to check for added ingredients.)Dehydrated Celery can be added to soups and stews. Ground Celery Seed is a very flavorful seasoning. Powdered Celery Juice is available – be sure to check for added ingredients.||Celery is a staple of many cuisines and is used in broths, sauces and stews. Celery is also great dipped in peanutbutter or other dips. Celery adds crunch to egg salad and potato salad. Cream of Celery Soup is another way to enjoy celery.|
|Celeriac||Fresh Celeriac can be bought online, in specialty grocery stores and conventional grocery stores. Celeriac is also sold as a fermented juice.||If you’ve never tried Celeriac, check out these ideas:Mashed CeleriacRoasted CeleriacCeleriac RemouladeCeleriac in SoupCeleriac FriesCeleriac FrittersCeleriac in Fresh Juice|
|Cucumbers||Fresh cucumbers are sold in most grocery stores.||Fresh cucumbers are great as a crunchy topping on sandwiches.Simple Cucumber sandwiches are a nice treat. Fresh cucumbers are great in cucumber salad and tossed salads. Cucumbers can easily be juiced.Cucumbers can be pickled. Sliced cucumbers can be used like a bread or cracker to hold dip or other toppings.|
|Carrot||Fresh carrots are sold in most grocery stores. They are sold in several forms:Whole, unpeeled, uncutBaby CarrotsCoin Cut CarrotsShredded Carrots (I used to think it was silly to buy these as they are higher in cost per pound. But shredded carrots are so easy to add to sandwiches, salads, and stir fry. And my kids will eat these way easier than any other type of carrot.Carrot is also sold as a single ingredient Carrot Juice and Carrot Juice Powder.||Carrots are flavorful and colorful and can be served and cooked in many ways:Carrot Cake Roasted CarrotsGlazed CarrotsShredded Carrot SaladAs part of a tossed salad. Diced Carrots are great in a Split Pea Soup or Cream of Carrot Soup. Carrot Juice is relatively easy to make and can be combined with other juices and ingredients.|
|Cauliflower||Fresh Cauliflower and Frozen Cauliflower is sold at most grocery stores. Fresh Cauliflower may be sold as a “Head of Cauliflower” or as pre-cut cauliflower florets. Frozen Cauliflower is often sold in bags of cauliflower florets as well as Riced Cauliflower. Shelf stable Dry Riced Cauliflower is another option.Freeze Dried Cauliflower is also available. Cauliflower Flour is available in specialty grocery stores and online.|
|Chayote Squash (also called Chocho)||Fresh Chayote Squash can be purchased in grocery stores, specialty stores, and online. Chayote powder is also available.||Value|
|Daikon||Fresh Daikon is sold in some grocery stores and in specialty grocery stores||Value|
|Eggplant||Fresh Eggplants are commonly sold in grocery stores and farmers markets. Canned and Jarred Eggplants dips, appetizers and prepared products are fairly common but I haven’t been able to identify one that is just eggplant.Dried Eggplants are sold online but products don’t have explicit food labels. This dried eggplant appears to be just eggplant and salt.||Eggplant is a very versatile vegetable. You can prepare and serve it many ways:Grilled EggplantEggplant with quinoa in a hearty salad. Eggplant as part of a rice bowl. Eggplant Parmigiana is a classic. Roasted Eggplant is made in to a lovely dip called Baba Ganoush. Eggplants feature prominently in Traditional Greek Moussaka. Eggplant can be used to make vegan appetizers.Eggplant can be used as a crust for mini pizzas. Eggplant can be roasted and used in an Indian stew. Eggplant goes great in a veggie sandwich or as a veggie burger.|
Greens: Beet Greens, Collard Greens, Dandelion Greens, Kale, Mustard
Greens, Potato Greens, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Turnip Greens |
These are listed separately from Salad Greens but there is some overlap. Generally, smaller and more tender greens are used in salads and larger more fibrous plants are used for cooked greens.
|Hearts of Palm||Canned Hearts of Palm is very common, but caution with added ingredients. Hearts of Palm Noodles are available online and are a single ingredient food. Fresh Hearts of Palm may be sold at specialty grocery stores and online.|
(also called sunchoke)
|Fresh Jerusalem Artichokes can be purchased online and in specialty grocery stores. Jerusalem Artichoke is also sold as Jerusalem Artichoke tea.||Value|
|Jicama||Fresh Jicama can be purchased online, in specialty grocery stores, and in many conventional grocery stores.||Value|
|Kohlrabi||Fresh Kohlrabi may be purchased online, in specialty grocery stores, and in many conventional grocery stores.||Value|
|Salad Greens & Lettuces: Iceburg Lettuce, Leaf Lettuce, Romain Lettuce, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, Baby Spinach, Arugula, Radiccio, Watercress, Baby Kale, Baby Greens, Micro Greens||A large variety of salad greens are available in conventional grocery stores. Specialty grocery stores may carry a wide variety of salad greens as well.||https://itsavegworldafterall.com/slow-cooker-arugula-mashed-potatoes/?fbclid=IwAR0vMKUSpsFw9v0e0bUEsmH0aJ9oM1ESC5yPAiOji9WEywmrXA8GF4YhaII|
|Leeks||Leeks are available at most conventional and specialty grocery stores. Dried Leeks and Leek Powder are also available. ||https://www.laurelannnutrition.com/blog/leek-and-cauliflower-soup?fbclid=IwAR2RbkR8Jzf55hviKsAByCPLSoRd4wwEW1E4Ka-j5SRHJ7ZW5dSeEisHFN8|
|Mushroom (all types)|| ||https://www.amydgorin.com/hummus-pizza-with-mushrooms/?fbclid=IwAR0vMKUSpsFw9v0e0bUEsmH0aJ9oM1ESC5yPAiOji9WEywmrXA8GF4YhaII|
|Snow Pea, Sugar Snap Pea|
|Sprouts: Alfalfa, Broccoli, Clover, Lentil, Mung Bean, Sunflower & others|
|Squash: Cushaw Squash, Summer Squash, Spaghetti Squash, Zuchchini||https://www.amydgorin.com/vegan-power-bowl-maple-dijon-dressing/?fbclid=IwAR3k_VexE_5njlxgsfOQ0zIddvFlG4WtVeA6JAMmYc9FjfWdvoCD_htETN4|
|Water Chestnut |
Sometimes it is easier to think about types of foods you like: Soups, casseroles, salads, pasta dishes, crock pot meals, sandwiches, desserts. Blended and mixed in foods). Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce.