EYE ON NUTRITION

Tricky and tasty ways to disguise your veggies

For many, our palates tend to prefer the sweeter things in life, and we often forget those poor veggies. When we do remember them, we might eat them as quickly as possible (and with too much cheese) to get it over with—or, easier yet, avoid them altogether. But what if we could transform those nutritious veggies into something a bit tastier? Yes, it is possible, and no, this isn't just for kids.

Being mindful of vegetables that are good for your eyes, we put together these tasty ways to disguise your veggies any time of day.

Breakfast
  • Pumpkin bread
    This marvelous mix of sweetness and spices contains vitamin A, which helps maintain eye health. Enjoy a slice or two, but be careful of your sugar intake—it adds up quickly!

  • Bran muffins
    The original healthy morning muffin is a great place to hide carrot or zucchini shavings. Instead of that cinnamon roll or sausage breakfast sandwich, pick up a nutrient-filled muffin or make your own.

  • Smoothies
    These blended beverages are just waiting to disguise some vegetables. Start with carrot juice or cooked carrots and add nonfat yogurt and fruit such as frozen mango pieces, oranges, strawberries, bananas, or blueberries. If you're feeling really healthy, add a few fresh spinach leaves as well.

The next time you're in the mood for pasta, try mixing pureed carrots and spinach into your tomato sauce.
Lunch
  • Burritos
    Whip up a quick burrito paste by pureeing veggies—like corn, sweet bell peppers, or avocado slices—with beans. Add a little bit of cheese, sour cream, and a few tomato slices (technically these are fruit), and you've got a healthy lunch with no veggies in sight.

  • Sweet potato smoothie
    Combine 1 small (cooked or canned) sweet potato, 1.5 cups of skim milk (or light soymilk), 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, some ice, and a dash of pumpkin pie spice in a blender. Voila! A quick and beta-carotene-rich concoction you can add to your list of "vanishing veggie" lunch items or snacks.

Dinner
  • Pasta sauce
    The next time you're in the mood for pasta, mix pureed carrots and spinach into your tomato sauce. This is an easy way to get a boost of vitamins without that extra veggie taste.

  • Pizza
    Topping off your homemade pizza with fresh veggies will help train your taste buds to tolerate—or, dare we say, like—this essential food group. Because the cheese, tomato sauce, and crust bring a bundle of flavor to the pizza already, the veggies will go nearly unnoticed.

Now there's no excuse for neglecting your vegetables. Let these "hidden veggies" inspire you to get creative about feeding your eyes the nutrients they need. Who knows? You just might discover a new favorite dish!

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