Dear Picky Eaters, From a Former Picky Eater
Have you ever fed a toddler, and faced their unreasonable refusal to eat something based solely on how it looks? Lord help you if there's an imperfection on a blueberry, if a sweet potato is mashed instead of cut, or if you made rotini instead of shells! If you've experienced this, then you know what I'm talking about, and you've felt that frustration. With toddlers, you have to have patience, allow them to learn, make choices and listen to their own precious little bodies. That being said... if you're reading this I'm going to assume you're not a toddler.
Let me first admit, that I was one of the most picky-eaters of all time (ask my parents), and I do still have my moments. But I've learned over the last decade or so, that I was actually depriving myself of a lot of great things by refusing to try them (sushi, salsa, beans, non-white breads, herbs, guacamole, pizza with anything more than cheese on it, onions, to name a few).
So, for all the picky adults out there who have a desire to be healthier, but “don’t like” a lot of healthier foods, I’ve compiled some advice based on my own experiences.
Green ≠ Gross
In my adult life, this one frustrates me the most. When did we decide that certain colors dictate the tastiness of a food? Do you know how many people have looked at one of my green smoothies and cringed at the thought of eating it strictly because it’s green? Too many. Chocolate is brown almost black… is there anything less appetizing than something brownish-black? Yet, in America we cover something (anything & everything) in chocolate and suddenly it’s like 93% more appealing. I'm not hating on chocolate (I would never do such a thing) I'm just saying, the color of your food does not determine it's tastiness. So, stop judging green stuff, and just try it!
How do you know you don’t like it if you haven’t tried it?
Just like we to say to the kids…Don’t tell me you don’t like it if you've never had it. Also, don't try to say you don't like onions if you haven’t tried anything with an onion on it in 9 years. Our preferences change, and evolve over the course of our life, did you like the way coffee tasted when you were 3 years old? Could you appreciate the taste of a double IPA when you were in college chugging Coors Light in your spare time? Probably not, and maybe you still don’t like those things, but don’t tell me you don’t as if it’s a fact unless you can tell me the last time you actually tried it.
But, did you die?
So, you just tried that hummus that you thought looked weird, and it turns out you really aren't a fan. Great! I’m just glad you gave it a try - and it didn’t kill you, did it? Try things! It will not kill you to experience something new, that’s how I’ve discovered some of my favorite things (to clarify, if you’re allergic to something - don’t try it, that can actually kill you).
Different preparations make a difference
The way that a food is prepared can really change the taste and enjoyability of it. For example, I love broccoli, but I’m not that big a fan if it’s raw - it’s an entirely different experience. So, if you tried something once and didn’t like it, don’t swear it off for eternity, try it prepared differently, or paired with different flavors, this can really make a difference. I mean, what if your first experience with potato was a potato salad, and then you never tried French fries because you don't like potatoes? I’m not saying, you should go out and buy something you don’t think you like and try preparing it differently in hopes you might change your mind, that could be a waste of food and money; I’m just saying if the opportunity presents itself, go for it (& stay tuned for a post about the many different ways to prepare your veggies)!
There you have it, things I’ve learned in my journey from picky AF to a life with variety in it! You may have gathered that the moral of the story is: Try things. Simple as that. When I was working on this article last week, I went out to eat afterwards; My boyfriend wanted me to try his meal, and I initially declined because I just didn’t like the way it looked, then I reminded myself of what I was writing for you guys and I took a bite anyway… wasn’t bad, and it didn’t kill me (told you I still have my moments).
Thank you so much for reading! Hit me up in the comments: Have you tried something new lately? Is there something amazing you’ve discovered after refusing to try it for years? Is there something you didn’t used to like but recently discovered your tastes have changed? Let me know!