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Widen Your Taste Buds’ Horizons

Learn to like new foods with these tips.

It’s common for kids to be picky eaters and when it happens, every one of their meals can wind up consisting of macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. They may refuse to eat certain vegetables, fruits, or types of dishes, while parents must bribe and beg for one green bean to be eaten. Some parents give up and others keep trying day after day.

The good news is that most kids outgrow their picky eating habits. By the time they’re adults they’ve grown to like new foods and will try different dishes without complaint. However, some kids remain picky eaters well into adulthood. Perhaps you’re one of those people. There are foods you refuse to eat and your meals are planned around avoiding those foods. As a result, dinner parties can be awkward and sometimes you wonder if you’re missing out. Well, you are.

Is there any way for you to overcome your picky eating habits? Keep reading to find out.

Repeated Exposure

You may say, “I’ve tried onions and hate them so why try them again?” One of the best ways to train yourself or your kids to like new foods is to try them over and over again. Keep the pressure low. Try it at home without other people around.

Eating just one bite on a regular basis can help your taste buds realize the food isn’t all that bad. Plan to eat the dreaded food at least once a week. Over time you may come to appreciate the new flavor and texture.

One at a Time

You may hate the taste of broccoli, peas, olives, and tomatoes. Don’t plan to overcome all your aversions at once or you may become overwhelmed and give up. Choose a food you wish you liked the most and regularly add a little to your meals. Once you enjoy that food, move to the next on your list.

Serve with Other Food

If you dislike chicken liver, don’t make a meal with liver as the main dish. Otherwise you may go hungry, fail at your attempt, and hate liver even more. Prepare a meal you enjoy and add some liver on the side.

Try New Recipes

Maybe you have an aversion to salmon because you’ve only ever eaten salmon patties. It’s time to try new ways of preparing the foods you don’t like. Experiment with new recipes, ask friends for suggestions, or take a cooking class. Keep a journal and record what food you ate, how it was prepared, and whether or not you liked it. There are multiple ways to eat the same foods depending on the way they’re prepared. You may surprise yourself and actually like the once-dreaded food when it’s dressed up a little differently.

Think Positive

Liking or disliking food isn’t just about how it tastes in your mouth. Your mind plays a role, too. You may have bad memories or negative associations with a type of food, but you can replace those thoughts with positive thoughts. Be optimistic that you’ll learn to like the food and you’ll be more successful at it.
When you’ve given your all and still don’t care for asparagus, it’s okay. Don’t get down on yourself. At least you’ve tried. And while enjoying a variety of foods is beneficial in many ways, you don’t have to like every food out there.

Seek Help

There are mental health disorders that involve food and eating. If eating causes great distress, your mind is preoccupied with food, or you’re extremely picky, talk with your doctor. People with selective eating disorder (SED) have an altered perception of food. Because of the smell, appearance, or negative associations with food, people with SED will avoid certain foods at all cost.