How to Overcome Picky Eating Tendencies and Learn to Love Eating Healthy

We do get patients who are picky eaters who enroll our programs!

We work with them closely on food choices so that they can actually enjoy eating healthier foods.

Habits take a long time to form and aren’t easily altered overnight. With anything you try to change, it is a process, so don’t beat yourself up over it. Celebrate your small successes — they will lead you to making your bigger goals a reality.

Most of us know that eating healthy has numerous health benefits, including increased energy, maintaining a healthy weight, having a healthy heart, and preserving the building blocks for your whole body. The problem isn’t in knowing the benefits of eating healthy.

While being a picky eater may not bother you very much, you should consider expanding your food choices for several reasons:

  • Adult picky eaters tend to eat foods that are high in fat and sugar, which are also high in calories and therefore add to your waistline.
  • If you only eat a limited number of foods, you’re missing out on the benefits of consuming a variety of disease-fighting and health-promoting vitamins and minerals.

There are a lot of temptations, especially when we are tired and/or stressed!

Food cravings are powerful! Sugar has been specifically proven to be addictive. It is why food manufacturers have sugar in foods that are not even meant to be sweet. Over 70% of the food at your traditional grocery store has sugar in it! Sugar is hard on the body, and it takes a lot of sugary items to feel full, so you consume more food than you need.

Did you know…?

Your taste buds often fall victim to “neophobia”, or a fear of trying new or different things. Evolution plays a part. Way back when humans were not sure which foods would keep them alive or kill them, they learned to develop a taste for certain food sources. This evolutionary issue is still ingrained in us.

There is also science behind the genetics of your taste buds. Researchers claim that variants of the TAS2R38 gene, which is associated with taste, determine how strongly you taste bitter flavors. Another genetic factor is that the more messenger RNA (mRNA) your taste cells make, the more sensitive you may be to bitter foods and drinks.

To move towards better eating habits, start small and make a plan. Here are a few tips you can try to get started:

  • Every week, make an effort to plan a meal with a vegetable you haven’t tried before. Try new ways to prepare it. For example, if you don’t love steamed broccoli, try cooking it in a little olive oil and tossing it in ground pepper, lemon juice, and sea salt.
  • Have you ever heard of quinoa? This versatile grain can be used in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Use it in a dish with raisins, coconut milk, and chopped almonds. Or, add it to some of your favorite vegetables.
  • Do you like making a morning smoothie? Add an avocado to your next concoction!
  • Compared with going out to eat, cooking food at home will almost always be better for your wallet and health. Try to limit how often you eat out, and when you do go out to a restaurant, go for dishes with plenty of vegetables.
  • Make a simple vinaigrette to go with your salad instead of using a heavy dressing. Try combining vinegar, olive oil, and whole-grain mustard. For a spicier version, add a little bit of cilantro and some jalapeños blended with an avocado.
  • Some of the foods that are best at increasing the healthy bacteria in your gut are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high in fiber, like eggs and fish. Try grilling up some salmon or lox instead of going with a processed smoked option.
  • Add more probiotics into your diet. These foods balance the healthy bacteria in your gut and include things like kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, sourdough bread, and kombucha.
  • To add new foods into your routine, try joining a farm co-op. You could even try growing some items on your own! There is nothing quite like freshly picked fruits and veggies.
Remember that you’ll only find things you enjoy by being open to new things. We recommend looking for recipes that already have certain ingredients you enjoy as well as foods you want to try.

It takes commitment and repetition. You do have to try a food 20 or so times before your taste buds decide if it something you want to keep eating or not. Just like the early humans, we can enjoy eating new foods that won’t kill us! That being said, pay attention to any symptoms you may encounter after eating new foods — it may be that your body truly does not agree with a certain food.  One man’s food is another man’s poison!

Have you learned an easy way to add healthy food to your daily routine?  Feel free to share!

Are you looking for an easy, simple-to-follow program to get you unstuck from your eating habits?  Contact us today at 828.98.7426.

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