Eating your veggies

A new U.K. study finds that only 12 percent of Britons meet their government's recommended daily allowances of fruits and veggies, and that 12 percent don't eat any fruits or veggies at all. The most likely to be eating well: the over-45s and the wealthy. The least likely: the poor and children.

Get fast and nutritious recipes and easy ideas for how to make mealtime healthier from Epicurious and Nutrition Data.

Granted, there are significant cultural differences between the U.S. and the U.K. , but I'd wager that you'd find similar numbers of non-veggie-eating Americans right now.

And while there's plenty of advice floating around about how to get your kids to eat green, what about the guys and gals who are well past that stage? How do you trick adults (including yourself) into eating veggies?

I don't think it's just me, either. (I'll just go ahead and blame my anti-veggie bias on my finicky brother, who'd accept a very limited menu growing up: steak and potatoes or veal Parm and spaghetti.) I've noticed that, whenever I'm at a shindig at my house or someone else's, the meat disappears within seconds while all the carefully marinated, spiced and prepped asparagus, portobello mushrooms, greens, etc., sit out the entire evening by their lonesome, hoping against hope that someone might slide them into Tupperware and take them home for the night. When I'm cooking at home for just one or two friends, the veggies always migrate to the rims of plates, like they're gradually making a break for the trash.

Here are a couple strategies I've tried to get myself and other adults to eat their veggies. None have been too successful:

- Buying a whole bunch of vegetables in hopes I'll be guilted into using them before they go bad.

- Using bright colors and interesting arrangements.

- Stuffing meat or pasta with veggies. (Funny how people become instant engineers when they decide to deconstruct anything stuffed with spinach.)

- Soups.

- Salads.

- Smoothies.

- Reminding people that eating veggies will make them live longer.

So how do we prevent ourselves from becoming like 12 percent of Brits? What strategies have you tried that have either succeeded or failed spectacularly?

Michael Y. Park is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. He studied medieval history as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, and journalism as a graduate student at New York University. His stories have appeared in publications including The New York Times, the New York Post, and the Toronto Globe and Mail.


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