How to go from salad hater to salad lover

If you don’t naturally crave or even enjoy veggies, you can easily  change this and I’ll tell you how.Si no eres de las personas que disfrutan comiendo vegetales, con estos tips te volverás fanática de las ensaladas.

Everyone knows that eating salads (as well as drinking green juices and smoothies) are two very effective ways to add more veggies to your diet. And the more veggies you eat, the healthier you will be and the less space your stomach and appetite will have to eat those things that are not that great for you.

But what if you simply don’t like eating salads? Does this mean you’re doomed to eat an unhealthy diet?

The answer, thankfully, is no.

Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t enjoy salads at all. I’ve always been more inclined to eat carbs like pasta or rice, and especially sweets like cakes and cookies. For most of my life, and even though I was a vegetarian, salads seemed boring, bland, and I felt they left me hungry and they even made me cold. Luckily, I didn’t give up on them. What I’ve learned throughout the years is that vegetables can actually be an acquired taste, which means you can also learn to love them like I did. Nowadays, if I spend too many days or even too many hours without eating fresh veggies, my body really craves them. I would’ve never thought I could turn into a huge vegetables and salad lover! These tips will turn you into a salad lover even if you've never enjoyed eating vegetables.

So today I want to share with you all the different ways I have to make salads tasty so that you can conquer them, or, more accurately, so that they can conquer your taste buds!

Here they are:

*Give peas a chance. Peas, lettuce, carrots…all veggies! Just give them a chance! It may sound strange but the more you eat them, the more you will like them. Once you start consuming them on a regular basis, your wise body will recognize them as good nourishment and will acquire the taste for them. The people who don’t like salads or veggies, are usually the ones that haven’t been exposed to them too much, or weren’t forced to eat them as kids. So if you force yourself a little bit even now as an adult, your body and tastebuds will adapt and you will soon feel differently about them.

*Change your ingredients often. If you always add the same lame looking vegetables to your salad, it’s obvious that you’re not going to get excited by them. Instead of doing this, add as much variety as possible. Use kale, spinach, arugula, watercress, or sprouts instead of lettuce. Do radishes some days, and cucumber some others. Try adding bell pepper slices instead of tomatoes. Thinly slice your carrots at times, and then grate them at others. Use your imagination and the fresh, seasonal produce you find at the market to create new combinations each time.

*Make them fun. Try adding new colors, textures, and flavors. For example, you can sprinkle your salads with nuts and seeds of any kind, like hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans; dried fruits like raisins, cranberries, apricots, or coconut; fresh fruits like blueberries, strawberries, orange or papaya wedges, or cubed pears, apples, or pineapples. Sky is the limit.

*Make them sturdy. My favorite way of achieving this and making them more filling is by adding some cooked quinoa or brown rice to them. I sometimes also add organic corn, cubed potatoes or sweet potatoes, or marinated tofu or tempeh.

*Use a mix of raw and cooked vegetables. Raw eaters will frown at this, but I like to use a mix of raw and cooked veggies in my salads depending on how I feel. You can steam some asparagus, green beans, cubed beets, or broccoli or cauliflower florets, and add them freely for a different set of flavors, colors, and nutrients.

*And the most important part is to make them tasty! For this, the dressing is key. A simple dressing made with lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper, is nice and refreshing, but unless you vary it a bit every now and then you will probably get bored. I sometimes add half a grated garlic clove for an explosion of flavor. If I’m in the mood for an Asian twist I add some grated ginger, maybe some turmeric, and some gluten free, organic soy sauce or tamari. I sometimes use mustard or horseradish, or herbs like parsley, cilantro, or mint (by the way, I added mint to my salad last week and OH MY GOD, it was incredible!). When I want to make my dressing creamier I put some hummus, tahini, coconut yogurt, or vegan cashew cheese in it. And a few years ago my soul sister Andrea Franco made a dressing for me with blended green onions that was to die for (which reminds me I need her recipe to share it here!). Don’t be afraid of flavorful combinations. They are there to make our food more interesting and enjoyable. Use spices, herbs, vinegars (I usually only use apple cider vinegar), or even a little sweetness in the form of honey or maple syrup.

I hope this helps change the way you look at salads, and you feel motivated to experiment with them more often and let them grow on you.

Photos: Nuhr Studio

Léelo en Español.

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