Friday, January 14, 2011

Eat Your Peas!

To my regret, I allowed my kids to grow up on too much soda, too much junk food and too much holiday candy. But I think I managed to do a few things right – nutritionally. We always ate a pretty healthy breakfast first thing each morning (oatmeal, eggs, fruit,or non-sweetened cereal). And I usually cooked dinner 4-5 times a week, depending on their activities, that exposed them to a variety of vegetables and dishes. Now in their 20’s, while they have their junk food favorites, I am glad to see that my kids are pretty health-conscious and still eat many of those healthy foods I prepared for them. I have also noticed that they are trying new foods and eating things that they once “hated”.

How kids are raised in regards to food and eating habits will have a big impact and influence the way they continue to eat once they are start making their own choices and become adults. Although we all have a few foods that we don’t care for and can live without, I’ve met a lot of “picky” eaters through my nutritional counseling who have an adverse reaction to healthy foods that limits their balance of proper nutrition and successful weight control.

But nutritional scientists say that it is possible to learn to like foods you hate. Here are the 4 most common food issues and how to overcome them:

1) One in four people actually taste vegetables like broccoli and
Brussels sprouts as extremely bitter (survival instinct to protect
against eating poisonous plants)

Solution: Try masking bitterness with more pleasant tastes by
preparing the veggies with some fat, vinegar or sweetener. Or dip raw
veggies in ranch dressing. Also, do not overcook as it enhances the
sharp flavor of vegetables.

2) Childhood associations influenced you – maybe your parents didn’t
like the food or you became ill soon after eating a certain food

Solution: Wait until you are really hungry become trying a disliked
food, as your body will start to associate the foods with a positive
benefit – relieving hunger. Smell changes as we age, so the food may
not be as offensive as you remember.

3) It’s a texture thing – something about the feel or look of a food
turns you off.

Solution: Try changing the texture of the food by mixing it with other
food like in a soup or casserole.

4) No explainable reason why you don’t a food.

Solution: This trick works: try the same food 8-10 times,
incorporating it into several dishes throughout the week (in a soup,
on a sandwich, in a salad, on a pizza)

I remember when I first starting drinking low-fat milk instead of whole milk. I thought it tasted so watery and bland but now that I’m used to it, whole milk tastes too sweet and thick. And I never thought I’d get used to the “dry, cardboard” taste of whole wheat bread. Now I love the nutty, rich flavor and always choose it over a nutritionless white loaf.

Turkey bacon instead of pork……I’m not quite there yet but keep trying! :)

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