Are You a Picky Eater? Here’s How to Learn to Love New Food

While it’s more common for kids to be the ones refusing to eat certain vegetables, whole grains, proteins and other healthy ingredients, adults can be just as selective. Unlike children, grown-ups don’t have to eat anything they don’t want to! If you’re choosy about what you put on your plate, it’s worth trying to be a little more adventurous. Eating a wide variety of healthy foods gives your body the proper nutrition it needs to keep you healthy, while reducing your risk for chronic conditions and diseases.

The key to liking something new is to try it a few times. Studies on children show it takes nine or 10 tastes to enjoy a flavor, so start working in new items slowly. You train your taste buds with your food choices, and sometimes they need further training. While, in other instances, you need to get used to the texture or mouth feel of a certain food. Pick a healthy food you don’t think you like—maybe it’s Brussels sprouts, brown rice or ground turkey—and add a little of it to a few meals every week for a month. Even if you just take a few bites, that’s enough to get accustomed to the taste. I tell fussy kids to take as many bites as their age, as an adult that is tricky.

Not sure how to start adding in new foods? Here are three ways to easily do it:

  1. Figure out what tastes you like, and work from there. Think about what flavors and textures appeal to you. Do you like crunchy things? Tangy, vinegar-based sauces? Once you figure that out, look for recipes that combine those characteristics with healthy foods you wish you liked.
  2. Feed your sweet tooth. Nothing helps you learn to enjoy a food like boosting their sweetness. And you don’t need to add sugar! For example, instead of trying to eat raw vegetables, try roasting them to make them more appetizing.
  3. Sneak foods into recipes you already like. Try tweaking dishes you love by adding in just a little of the foods you aren’t as much of a fan of. For example, let’s say you always make stir fry with shrimp, but don’t like green veggies. The next time you cook it, add in a few pieces of broccoli or snap peas. Since the vegetables aren’t the star of the show (and there are other bold flavors), you likely won’t even notice them. Then add a little more, and a little more.

Remember the goal is to allow your tongue and taste buds to acquire a taste for all food. Which of these tips are you going to try? Share with us in the comments below!

Photo credit: Mr. TinDC

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