Everyone knows a fussy eater. You may not necessarily be a picky eater but you're just not keen on certain foods like celery or mushrooms. Even though you know that they are good for you, you start to think; “will I like it though?” “Is it going to taste horrible?” “but I’ve never tried it, I’ll probably throw up” 😷
Thing is, the picky eating habits started waaaay back with our ancestors surviving on leaves and wild animals. These thoughts were used as a defence mechanism to help keep you alive. If you think about it, back in the caveman days you wouldn’t run around trying all the berries on every bush or start crunching a mushroom you found in a field, because they could have been poisonous. 😱🍓🍇🌽
So, fussy eating shouldn’t be much of an issue now because production of food has improved majorly since our ancestors and we can easily buy a pack of raspberries in Tesco’s without poisoning ourselves! But another reason for picky eating habits emerged in our childhood. Remember when you would hate to try anything new. If your parents didn’t push the issue then that’s when you could have grown up to be a fussy eater!
But there’s good news! We can actually trick our taste buds and start to love the foods that we turn our nose up to. Because c’mon, we need these foods to feel healthy and survive! So, brace yourselves as your uptight tongue is going to be absolutely rocked.
If you want to learn to like a new food, you’re just going to get over it and just try it. Just like ripping off a plaster, just get it done and over with. There are other ways to make foods that are off-putting for you look a bit better (we’ll get to those techniques in a minute), but exposure is the rst step. The reason why is because humans are creatures of habit and we learn to like things that are repeatedly given to us. I know, how pre- dictable...but true. Did you know that children need to be exposed to a new food at least 15 times before they start to adjust to it. So if you want to do this, you’re going to have to stick with it for a while.
2) Adjustment using liked tastes
There is one simple and reliable trick for making you like a food that you ABSOLUTELY hate. If you combine your hated food with a nice taste you actually like, you will eventually begin to like it and appreciate that food on its own – weird. For example, if you hate Brussel sprouts, try and cover it with the gravy (if you like it). Obviously you can’t cover everything with gravy, so we suggest other tastes and seasonings that you might like such as; soy, cinnamon, garlic. If you pair your hated food with a strong, but not overwhelming taste, it will gradually take away the unsettling taste of that food in your mouth.
3) What is it you ACTUALLY don’t like?
Ok, this may seem like a stupid question because your answer will probably be “the taste, you idiot!”. Or it could be more complicated than that and there’s various reasons as to why you may not like that certain food – its smell, appearance, the texture, or even how it feels on your teeth? – who knows. Us humans tend to resemble foods with other foods – we love to compare, don’t we. We also make emotional judgements about food. Say if you once had a horrible experience with a potato, even if it’s just taste, chances are high that you won’t like it any more. If you find out why it is you don’t like a certain food then this will help you adjust the problem. If it’s the appearance you don’t like, play around with the plating; if it’s the smell, focus on the strong-smelling “sweeter” side of the food; if it’s the texture, look for recipes that can change it. And if it’s the taste – bitter, too sweet etc. Think about how you could counter-balance that? Go crazy – the worlds your oyster.
4) Experiment with recipes
You’re probably thinking “how am I supposed to cook a food that I don’t like – ew”. The key is to do all the tips above and fuse them into a series of experiments. You never know, they might just tickle your taste buds. If you’re seriously invested, see if you can make it work by cooking your hated food in various ways that target exactly what you don’t like about it. Say if you don’t like the soft, mushy texture of broccoli, steaming it as it makes the texture a little crunchier.
5) Become a SUPER TASTER
What we are basically saying is, rather than avoiding the foods you absolutely hate, instead become an expert on the flavours of the foods you hate. Become that guy who takes a sip of wine and starts mentioning the weird flavours or blueberry, honey and a hint of angry musk – but do it with food. Obviously this can’t happen until you’ve got over the initial disgust of that food. But you can then start to introduce this food in your life by learning as much as you can about the taste, texture and origins. You never know your hatred might turn into a fascination instead. There’s hoping!!
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