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Kids Aren't the Only Picky Eaters

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Using Herbs and Spices to Increase Vegetable Consumption

Have you tried tricking someone into eating something or hiding vegetables in different recipes? Whether it be avocado in brownies or a sweet potato puree in quesadillas, we are still falling short on our consumption of daily fruit and vegetable intake. University of Illinois professors researched which types of consumers were using certain herbs and spices, but wanted to further investigate whether using herbs and spices increased vegetable intake.

Adding herbs and spices is a personal preference. While women were more confident using herbs and spices, those with a lower annual income showed less confidence. Older participants were more likely to stick to mild flavors, while cultural differences lead certain populations to gravitate towards certain spices and herbs. Whether you gravitate towards curry, ginger, or oregano, the process of trial and error may be your best friend in determining your taste preferences when it comes to flavoring vegetables.

Regardless of herb or spice, Americans are still under consuming vegetables at 1.5 cups out of an upper level of 3.5 cups per day. With the nutrition information available at our fingertips, we need to go back to the basics of learning where our vegetables come from, how to cook them, and then transition to exploring the use of herbs and spices. But where to start?

"Matching herbs and spices to vegetables helps you enhance the best features of the vegetable's flavor, in addition to providing a nice complement to any dish that you might make in your own kitchen.

Examples would be artichokes with parsley, bay leaves, coriander seeds or paprika. Asparagus goes well with the addition of dill, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, chives or tarragon. While matching broccoli with herbs and spices like sage, chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic or marjoram, truly heightens its natural flavor. 
The best thing to do is experiment and make it fun! And see what you and your family like to add to your veggies.” 
– Chef Mark Allison, Dole Director of Culinary Nutrition

 

Try a different take on rice by making Cauliflower Rice or for those more adventurous, Grilled Celery with a Spicy Peanut Sauce may be right up your alley!

Published June 1, 2017

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