If you were to ask just about any client one thing they *should* do to improve their skin (from the inside out) and overall well being, “eat more vegetables” is a likely response. Though more people are now in tune with the many healthy benefits associated with eating vegetables (particularly greens) daily, only about one in 10 adults actually eats enough veggies daily. Why is this? While there is no shortage of vegetables available at every price range (even fast food establishments serve fresh salads), one of the main reasons why people don’t eat enough is because they don’t know how to properly prepare vegetables for optimal taste and texture.

It's important to know how to prepare vegetables properly to avoid overcooking them!

Another reason why people don’t eat enough vegetables is because they don’t think they like them. Just about everyone has a story about mushy broccoli or limp green beans.

However, most of the distaste clients express about their worst encounters with vegetables are really not about the vegetable itself. The problem is that the vegetables were either not prepared correctly (overcooking is the most common veggie offense), or they were bland. Fortunately, these two problems–how to prepare vegetables properly, and season them to please any palate–are easy to solve!

Here are our top tips for how to prepare vegetables and season them for maximum taste and texture:

Don’t overcook your veggies!

The whole point of eating vegetables every day is to gain the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and other key phytonutrients that only come from plants. In order for those nutrients to be intact, the vegetables need to be prepared properly! Some are better raw (like salad greens, celery, or carrots), while others are more nutritious when gently cooked (beets, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale).

sautéed kale

Aside from being colorless, tasteless and textureless, overcooked vegetables also have had most of their nutrients destroyed. By eating vegetables raw, steamed, or lightly sautéed, you not only retain the color, flavor, and texture (which is crucial for the pleasure of the meal), but you also retain the nutritional value of the food.

Lightly steaming or sautéing vegetables (in a healthy, heat-safe fat like coconut oil, sesame oil, or ghee) to the point where the vegetables brighten in color and soften a bit, while still retaining their “bite” is what to look for. Lightly grilling or oven-roasting is also a better option than boiling, though it’s important to watch the time so you don’t over-char or completely dry out the vegetables.

Stock up on herbs, spices, and healthy condiments

Seasoning your vegetables with an assortment of healthy condiments, herbs, and spices is a wonderful way to not only make the veggie taste its best, but also to adjust the flavor profile of the entire meal to keep things interesting.

Assorted healthy condiments

Some of our favorites are low-sodium tamari (a gluten-free fermented soy product like soy sauce), brown miso, umeboshi plum vinegar, dulse flakes (sea vegetable), raw apple cider vinegar, and oils other than olive like coconut, sesame, grapeseed, and flaxseed. Some of our other seasoning staples include mineral-rich pink Himalayan sea salt, black pepper, garlic, parsley, basil, Adobo seasoning (a blend of garlic and different peppers), Borsari (herbs and spices infused in salt), and gomasio (powdered sea vegetables with sesame seeds and sea salt). You can also stick with healthier versions of familiar favorites such as organic ketchup and mustard with no added sugar or hydrogenated fats.

These herbs, spices, and condiments are available in most health food stores, or the ethnic foods aisle in grocery stores. They can be expensive, we recommend buying a different one each week, and grow your collection over time.

Change it up

We all get stuck in food ruts from time to time, where we feel like we are cooking and eating the same types of foods all the time. This happens for many reasons: convenience, comfort level, cooking ability, tradition, etc.; but it is not healthy to keep eating the same things all the time. Eating should be a fun and even adventurous experience, and changing up favorite foods with different seasonings, flavor profiles, and cooking methods is a great way to keep vegetables interesting.

Assorted grilled vegetables

For example, if you’re tired of steamed kale–try sautéing it or making kale chips. If you’re tired of stir-fried zucchini, throw them on the grill. If you’re used to boiling broccoli but don’t want to overcook it, try blanching (submerging it in boiling water just for a few seconds) and then shocking (submerging it in ice water promptly after the boiling water) it instead. If you’ve had just about all you can take of Mediterranean-inspired flavors like olive oil with garlic and basil, try the same vegetables with Asian flavors. Sesame oil, ginger, and cilantro are great substitutes.

The skin-health benefits of vegetables are immeasurable

Consuming large amounts of fresh, organic vegetables (and fruit too) on a daily basis provides you with many of the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs to heal itself, fend off bacterial and viral infections, maintain its optimal weight, and grow healthy and resilient skin cells. By learning how to prepare vegetables and season them so you like them, you’ll definitely find it easier to incorporate them into your daily diet in more ways.

Young woman with clear skin holding fresh vegetables

By eating more fresh vegetables daily, you also increasing hydration, and promote an alkaline environment in the gut–which in turn will support healthy digestion, a healthy microbiome, and cellular function. This can help address the root causes of skin issues like acne, as well as rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis flare-ups.

The nutrients you get from these plant foods are more bioavailable than those you would get from supplements as well, meaning they are more easily absorbed and utilized by the body. If you get the majority of your nutrients from food sources, you spend less money on expensive supplements.

Do you want to learn more about how to support your clients with practical nutrition and lifestyle tips like this?

Check out our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program!