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The VEGETABLE HATER'S Guide to Nutrition

You can't live without beans and broccoli, so here's how to do the next best thing - hide 'em 

fruits and vegetables
While most guys eventually outgrow their childhood loathing of vegetables, some of us never quite reach the nutritional equivalent of puber-ty. We'll choke down a broccoli floret or two — if it just happens to come with dinner. But for many of us, our palates remain in a state of adolescent fixation — a world of fast cars, fast women and fast food. Sure, you can compensate for an underdeveloped diet by popping a daily vitamin supplement. Although that morning pill may provide your RDA of vitamins and minerals, eating a diet that's short on vegetables means you're missing daily doses of other critical nutrients. Number one on the list are phytochemicals. These mysterious chemical compounds shield vegeta-bles from viruses, bacteria and fungi. In us, they offer protection from cancer, heart disease and a variety of other debilitating conditions. The second missing element is fiber. Unless you're swallowing your One-A-Day with a glass of Fybogel, you're probably not getting enough fiber. Even if you've heard it before, it bears repeating: Fiber makes the plumbing work prop-erly and can lower both your cholesterol level and your risk of colon cancer. Of course, knowing the 'why' behind eating vegetables still won't help you with the 'how'. So we devised a sneaky plan for slipping them unnoticed into your diet. Follow it closely and you'll reap the benefits of eating vegetables without inciting a riot in your taste buds.

 EAT MINIMAL PRODUCT, GET MAXIMUM NUTRITION


Don't worry about eating three to five servings of vegetables a day. That's one of those statistical rules that makes as much practical sense as having 2.5 kids. It's not the quantity as much as the nutritional quality in this quota that counts. Pick and prepare your pro-duce wisely and you can eat fewer vegetables, because every mouthful will be nutritionally packed. Here's how to make sure' you do it right.
list of vegetables
BRING THEM IN FROM THE COLD 

No matter how cheap it is, don't be tempted to purchase a case of fresh vegetables at the Giant Supermarket. After chilling for a few days in your fridge, most will have lost a sub-stantial amount of nutrients. So unless you're going to eat them immediately, buy frozen ones instead. "Vegetables are usually frozen within a few hours of harvest, so the nutritional quality can actually be better than fresh," says Diane Barrett, Ph.D., an associate pro-fessor of food science and technology at the University of California at Davis. Canned vegetables are fine if you're stocking a bomb shelter for your militia buddies, but they lack flavor, and the heat of the canning process destroys B vitamins.

COLOR COORDINATE 
When you're in the super-market produce aisle, tear  off one of those plastic bags and stuff it with the brightest colored vegetables you see.

 Canned vegetables are fine if you're stocking a bomb shelter for your militia buddies, but they lack flavor, and the heat of the canning process destroys B vitamins.

Vibrant col-ors usually correspond with more vitamins, says Anne Dubner, R.D., L.D., a nutrition consultant. This means go easy on iceberg lettuce, celery and cucumbers, and load up on carrots, tomatoes, sweet red peppers and sweet potatoes. They're higher in vitamins like A and C. Or go for darker shades of your greens. Romaine lettuce, for example, has nearly seven times the vitamin C and twice the calcium of its paler iceberg cousin.

DISCOVER RAW POWER 

Like an aged single malt, fresh vegetables are better enjoyed straight up, no chaser. If you want to ruin perfectly good produce, just add water. "When you cook in water, the water-soluble B and C vitamins are leached out," says Barrett. Anywhere from 33 to 90 percent of the vitamin C typically ends up at the bottom of the pot. And a 15-minute boiling will also knock out a lot of the flavour, says Dubner. Snap peas and cauliflower are examples of vegetables usually served cooked, but they taste better and are more nutritious raw.

FLASH 'EM (WHEN NO ONE'S LOOKING)

 'Flash boiling' is one of the fastest and healthiest ways to cook vegetables. Just bring a pot of water to a rolling boil, add vegetables, count to 10, and then drain them. This softens vegetables a bit but preserves much of the vitamin and mineral content. Steaming or microwaving your vegetables will also make them more palatable without sapping their nutrients. "They're good cooking choices because both let you cook in a minimal amount of water," says Barrett. Or try stir-frying them for some variety.

DISGUISE YOUR VEGETABLES 


Your nephew who smothers his brussels sprouts  fin ketchup is on to something. He's consuming the same vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fibre as everyone else, but without gagging. Think of it as the difference between drinking gin straight or with some tonic and lime. Both will produce the desired effect, but one keeps you coming back for more.
FIND A GOOD HIDING PLACE 
It's an old trick, but good one. Chop or shred vegetables and add Ithem to dishes that will hide their flavour. Put spinach in chilli, mushrooms in macaroni and cheese, artichokes on pizza, peppers in Omelettes. And when you make a sandwich or burger, dress it with tomatoes, lettuce, onions Viand peppers, and then smother everything with etchup, mustard or low-fat mayo. More pungent vegetables, such as onions and garlic, can be ghopped fine and dumped into spaghetti sauce. ►BATTER UP 
Pick some mild-tasting vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini and squash, and cut them into strips. Spread on some low-fat mayo, roat them with bread crumbs and bake at a low temperature. (The low heat will minimise Vitamin loss.) Dip them in a marinara sauce for a healthful alternative to mozzarella sticks. You can also cut sweet potatoes, turnips and tapioca into thin slices, season them and bake as Vegetable chips.
COVER YOURSELF
Like oatmeal, some vegetables were seemingly never meant to be eaten plain. Try topping slightly bitter ones, such as spinach, with a little brown sugar or a honey glaze. On bland produce like summer squash, put some barbecue sauce, hot sauce or soy sauce. Prepare the worst taste offenders Cajun style.
DIP THEM
Store a bag of washed and cut vegetables in a sealable plastic bag in your refrigerator. (If it's too much work to cut them yourself, cheat by getting them from the super-market salad bar.) When you want a snack, skip the nachos, and dip the veggies in salsa instead. Or use onion dip, low-fat cheese spread, or your favourite salad dressing. Some of the best dippers are sugar snap peas, carrot sticks, sweet pepper wedges and broccoli florets.



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