Ask men which vegetables they hate most – broccoli, brussels sprouts, beets, and spinach line up in a photo finish. Ask nutritionists which vegetables are best for you, and the same names show up in the top tier. Mother Nature is a practical joker. Some of the foods we hate the most detest protect us the best. We’re not here to tell you to eat your vegetables—that’s your mother’s job. But we are here to make sure you know about all of life’s tonics—even the less-than-delicious ones.
Plain fact: If we list all the ways these vegetables that can keep you well, you’d be reading until noon tomorrow.
You get dessert whether or not you eat your vegetables. But you get the health protection only if you’re man enough to take the bitter with the sweet. We believe in seizing every single health opportunity out there, so we came up with some ways to maximize nutritional gain and minimize tastebud pain.
Read on to learn how to make healthy vegetables taste good:
The antioxidants in broccoli limit the cellular damage caused by free radicals and may have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties as well. The top reason you should eat it: Broccoli is a powerful defender against cancer. Broccoli bumps up the enzymes that rev up our systems to detoxify carcinogens.
To make broccoli taste good:
Skip the stalks. Broccoli florets have three times as much beta-carotene as the stems, and they’re a great source of lutein, another potent antioxidant.
Barbecue it. Throw some steamed broccoli and raw onions into one of those wire vegetable-barbecuing baskets, pour barbecue sauce over the mix, toss it, and grill it up over a low flame. Put some well-cooked meat con top for a few minutes so some of the / meat flavor drips into the vegetables. Don’t char either of them some studies suggest that burnt foods contain carcinogens.
Stash it. Hide broccoli in foods you like. At the last minute, add steamed florets to the rattlesnake chili or your favorite canned soup.
Whenever you have pizza, order broccoli as a topping. You won’t even notice the cancer protection.
Nitrogen compounds called indoles protect you against colon cancer and lung cancer, and they may also cut your risk of prostate cancer. What’s more, if a food fight erupts, sprouts make great ammo. They sting
To make brussels taste good:
Go small. Buy compact sprouts with a bright green color.They emit a less cabbagey odor when they’re cooked.
Skewer them. Boil Brussels sprouts for a few minutes, then spear them and grill them with beef. Add barbecue sauce.
Chop them. One problem with sprouts is their density. You bite into one, and it’s a little bomb of bitterness. So steam them until they’re cooked, then chop them up and sneak them into soups or stews.
Season them. You can hide the strong flavor of sprouts with zesty seasonings, such as mustard, caraway, sage, and garlic. Sauté steamed sprouts in a little olive oil with garlic. Then add a squeeze of lemon.
To make beets taste good:
Make them snack food. Cut beets into thin slices, top each with a dab of olive oil and fresh herbs and spices, and bake them on a cookie sheet for 30 to 60 minutes at 450°F. Baking intensifies beets’ natural sweetness and locks in nutrients that are lost in the water if you boil them.
One serving supplies nearly a full day’s worth of vitamin A and half your vitamin C. Like beets, spinach is loaded with folate, and it also has two antioxidants that protects against muscular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over 65.
To make spinach taste good:
Seek the skinny. At the market, look for thin stems. Spinach with thick stems is often bitter.
Add a lasagna layer. Lasagna is so good, what with all the mozzarella and lean ground beef and tomato sauce and stuff,that you won’t even notice a layer of spinach. Your body will, though. (Boil and drain the spinach first.)
Do a sandwich switch. Use fresh spinach, not lettuce, on a meat or tuna sandwich.
Try a Japanese salad. Dress your spinach salad with an Asian concoction made of 1/2 cup of rice vinegar, 2 table-spoons of fresh lemon juice, 1/4 cup of vegetable oil, 1/2 teaspoons of sesame oil, 1/2 teaspoon of grated lemon peel, 3-1/2 tea-spoons of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, 2 teaspoons of minced ginger, and a minced garlic clove. (This will make 1-1/4 cups. That’s 10 2-tablespoon servings.)
Whip up a stealth dip. Mix 10 ounces of cooked spinach with A cup of fat-free sour cream, A cup of fat-free plain yogurt, 1 cup of finely chopped scallions, 1 can (8 ounces) of finely chopped water chest-nuts, salt, pepper, ground mustard, dried tarragon, and one crushed garlic clove. Chill and use it as a dip or a baked potato topping.
Next time you are having any of these foods, don’t make those funny faces
References:  Michael G. Tordoff and Mari A. Sandell. Vegetable Bitterness is Related to Calcium Content. Published in final edited form as: Appetite. 2009 April; 52(2): 498–504. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.01.002 PMCID: PMC2768385 NIHMSID: NIHMS90520.  V. Lobo, A. Patil, and N. Chandra, Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health, Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 118–126. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.70902 PMCID: PMC3249911.  Jed W. Fahey, Yuesheng Zhang, and Paul Talalay. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 September 16; 94(19): 10367–10372.  Baba AI, Câtoi C. Carcinogenesis. Bucharest: The Publishing House of the Romanian Academy; 2007.