If you’re still turning up your nose at steamed broccoli because it’s “too green,” it’s high time to take a hard look at addressing your picky eating. Often we grow out of our food aversions by the time we hit adulthood, in part because there’s more pressure as an adult to try new foods — think about the first time your friends insisted on that Ethiopian restaurant you now love, or your first time sipping an IPA. You might not have loved it at first, but in the end, peer pressure (for once) put you on the right path.
Obviously, there’s less motivation to try seasonal vegetables than a new beer, so you might still be in the “just pushing it around on your plate until someone takes it away” stage with leafy greens. But that means you’re missing out on yummy foods or vitamins, and your over-the-top pickiness may even be causing you major anxiety around mealtime (really serious picky eating is actually classified as a type of eating disorder). Here are five tips that’ll help you break your fussy eating ways.
1. Identify not just what foods you like, but what kinds of flavors, textures and qualities you like in a food or dish. Do you go for sweet or salty? Strong or delicate flavors? Crunchy or chewy? Creamy or chunky? (That last one might just apply to peanut butter.) Once you identify these things, you’ll have a pretty clear idea of the types of foods you’ll probs find delicious on a new menu.
2. Take a hard look at your picky preferences, and figure out what’s a true deal breaker in terms of taste. At the end of the day, no matter how hard you try, there are going to be some flavors you just don’t like. So list out what you know you should avoid, like ketchup or certain salad dressings if you’re not big on vinegary tastes and dark, leafy greens if you can’t stand anything too bitter. This list can include allergies and intolerances too. (But real ones — don’t insist you need to eat gluten-free unless you actually have to.) Anything not on this list isn’t make-a-scene-at-a-restaurant worthy.
3. Try a new produce item every time you go to the grocery store. If you’re thinking you need to embrace this whole fruits and veggies thing cold turkey (or what would it be when you’re doing the opposite of quitting something? “Hot turkey?”), think again. Instead of setting yourself up for failure (and letting a bunch of fresh food go to waste), pick ONE new thing you think you could handle every time you go shopping, and assign yourself to experiment with that for the week. Hello, new recipes.
4. Try it a few times, a few different ways. It might take more than a few bites — or even a few meals — for you to start seeing the value of, say, carrots. And if raw vegetables just aren’t doing it for you, that’s totally fine. You can try roasting, stir-frying, steaming, boiling, dipping… basically, anything that makes getting those nutrients more palatable —short of covering them in chocolate.
5. Pick a food you do like, and find something similar. Love potatoes? Great! Try sweet potatoes, or butternut squash next. Is pizza your go-to dinner? Try a homemade pizza with a pita bread or cauliflower crust.
Do you have a food you used to think you’d never love, but now you eat all the time? Show us your meals with the hashtag #iamcreative @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)