Lose the sugar – not the taste
Why sugar has to go, and practical ideas on how to do it
The bad news is that yes, you really should. They’re packed full of essential vitamins and fibre and can help keep your digestion regular as well as helping to lower your chances of heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
The good news, though, is that it might be easier than you think to build more veggies into your daily diet and if you struggle with constipation, by the way, eating more veg might help that too.
Not sure where to start? Never had a vegetable you liked? Try our vegetable-haters guide to sneaking more healthy veg into your diet. You never know, you might even enjoy it!
Alright, so you don’t like vegetables. But have you tried ALL of them? Every single one? Or is there one you think you could cope with? This is your entry level vegetable. If you can’t stomach anything but think you can deal with, say, mushy peas, then mushy peas it shall be. For starters, anyway.
The idea is that in stage 1 you try to have your acceptable vegetable as often as you can. Maybe there are two or three that you could alternate between, for a bit of variety. Once you’ve got used to having that/those veg more regularly, you can progress to stage 2: widening your circle. The more variety you can pack in, the better. Nutritionists sometimes talk about “eating a rainbow” meaning that you should aim to eat foods of different colours to pack in the most nutrients, as different coloured vegetables provide different vitamins and minerals. Some veg taste quite similar to others, so if there’s one you quite like there’s a good chance you like something else in the same kind of family.
|If you like…||Why not try…|
Some people don’t like the taste of certain vegetables, for some it’s the texture. One way round it is to chop them really finely, and hide them in other foods. This way you get all the benefits, with none of the yuck. Ideas for disguising your finely chopped veg might include:
If it gets you on the road to a more veg-ful life, combining vegetables with some of your favourite foods can be a good way to start. People who don’t like brussel sprouts, for example, can suddenly find them nigh-on gorgeous when they’re cooked with chestnuts. And asparagus can be even more delicious with a squeeze of fresh lemon.
The trick is to not overdo it. There’s no point having bowlfuls of vegetables every day if you’re also having loads of fat and salt as well.
Eating out is a great opportunity to try new dishes (including vegetables) that you might not have had before, or don’t eat much of. Again, you’ve got to be careful – don’t let your good work with the veg be undone with fat and salt. Making food at home is not only more satisfying and cheaper, it also tends to be healthier as you know exactly what’s going into it. But having Type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat out again – it’s about making better choices where you can.
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|Traditional British food|
A bit like “combine vegetables with things you love”, this tactic is about being a bit clever in the kitchen, and using seasoning, herbs and spices to vegetables to enhance their flavour. A plain salad can be a bit boring. But make it more interesting by adding a low-fat vinaigrette, sprinkling in some seeds or adding a few chopped nuts – just check that the low-fat dressing you use isn’t full of sugar.
Want to make daily veggies your mission?
Try the Better-Living app, and take up the challenge to eat veg every day for 30, 60 or 90 days.
This article has been reviewed by Nicola Scott, registered Dietician.