I want to make you LESS picky. How do we make “healthy” taste good?

This comes from a former picky kid who convinced his mom that he was allergic to vegetables.

Is it all in your head? 

We don’t actually start our lives feeling that way. Rather, as we grow up, we condition ourselves in response to the “toxic food environment” in which we live, to think that french fries taste much better than carrot sticks, says Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D. Fortunately, a new study done at the Tufts University School of Medicine suggests that it may in fact be possible to train our brains to reverse the process. That is, we may be able to trick ourselves into preferring healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods!

Another University of London study in 2008 concluded that aversion to certain foods can be 78 percent inherited, while the foods you experience as a child can leave positive and negative associations that are hard to shake.

Parent effect: Your parents are both plain-food types, and I were raised in a world without extravagant sauces or seasoning?

Opinions: established your own firm opinions early on, despite every parental encouragement: “I didn’t like vegetables, I didn’t like fish, I didn’t like meat.”

Once your mind has decided something is disgusting, your body will respond in kind by shutting itself off to food,’ she writes. ‘It is a fight or flight response.’

I hated Brussels sprouts until I tried them roasted instead of boiled. And now roasted brussels sprouts is one of my favorite sides.

My New Normal

After years of refusing to eat certain foods, I found that if I made myself try them again — just in tiny portions — then I would quite often like them. Welcome to my life, avocado, salmon, rainbow chard, cauliflower, and sprouts

As I realized the benefits of the foods, with skepticism, I was able to convince myself to expand my horizons and slowly introduce new foods. Now I build every meal around 2-3 vegetables such as roasted fennel, cauliflower rice, broccolini, or leafy greens.

How Do We Create a New Normal?

Action Steps

1a. Put Healthy Food Front and Center:

The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” couldn’t be truer when it comes to healthy food. Studies have consistently shown that when fruit and veggies are washed, cut, and in front people, they tend to eat them. Invest some time on Sunday into food prep, invest in glass storage containers, and place them at eye level in the fridge. Start small by ordering a side of veggies next time you get chips and dip.

1b. Keep Unhealthy Food Out of Site:

Really just the reverse of number 1. In one study, office workers ate 23% less candy out of an opaque container verses a clear container.

2. Expand Your Menu

Expand your menu by presenting meals you like in a different format. So if you like lasagne, try meatballs with spaghetti.

Sometimes you have to sneak it in. Use the foods and textures that you know you like as a tool to mix in new foods that are beneficial to your health. 

I love to get inspiration from a delicious meal and adapt a healthier version. A dish is a living and changing entity. The recipe is merely a guideline.

3. Positive peer pressure. Eat with friends and family around a table.

Studies show that eating alone reinforces fussy eaters’ worst habits.

You have to experience it. We need to get positive results in order to continue with any endeavor. You must believe that it will get better. Feelings follow actions, Take actions of adding in more nutrient dense foods and the desire will come. Chop, blend, or sneak the vegetables in.

Try new recipes like a smoothie or sauce, eat it and pay attention to how you feel and then repeat what worked. It takes some forced repetition for 2-3 weeks to make this a habit.

4. Thrill Wins Over Will. 

Find the excitement in new foods that offer benefits. Connect with the process and outcome of the new food. Build a desire to rationalize why you should be sneaking these foods in. You have a powerful weapon with seasonings and sauces.

“When I eat local seasonal vegetables I am teaching my body to adapt to the environment and creating a more resilient immune system.”

Think about all of the positives in my body, adding up. When you get excited about ingredients, you create a pattern on positive energy that can heal. Expect to get healthier and your mind will find a way to build habits. Build the desire. Take not and repeat.

5.  Give It A Chance

What if it becomes your new favorite food? You may have to try a new food 10-15 times before you begin to really like it, especially if your taste has been desensitized by the intense sweets and overly salted and processed foods that are the standard in the American diet, Like developing any new skill, it takes practice to begin to enjoy new foods

As you learn to enjoy the taste of healthy foods, your desire for unhealthy food will continue to lessen.

6. Sneak It In

Use a healthy soup or smoothie as a gateway drug to healthy eating. Try this “cream of broccoli soup” that is dairy-free and delicious. 

Sneaking a handful of spinach or some shredded carrots in a smoothie, pasta, or stir-fry is a great start.

Maybe you’ll find out that a new vegetable is your new favorite food and you’ll be boosting your health with every bite!

Article courtesy of arizonahealthclub.com