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ASK AN EXPERT: HOW TO DEAL WITH A PICKY EATER?
by Dara Winters
So many of our eating habits go way back to childhood. Eating quickly: were you at boarding school or in a large family where siblings might have nicked your food off your plate? Or did you have lots of processed foods as a child which might be why you’re drawn to beige foods now? Or did you grow up with a lot of puddings and not much veg which could be why your palette isn’t drawn to eating your greens?
If you feel like you’re in a food rut and find yourself getting a bit picky, don’t despair. It IS possible to gradually change this often deep routed behaviour.
I’m very much a realist when it comes to eating habits – making a 20% change CAN make an 80% difference. First things first, food should be seen as a celebration never as a chore. Food most definitely is love! Cooking from scratch helps us to savour our food as it’s taken us longer to prepare than popping something pre made into the oven. Cooking from scratch also helps to up the nutrient density too.
Here are some hacks that can help widen our food choices:
Factor in some time to cook, even if it’s 20 minutes.
Don’t eat too late. This way you’ll be less likely to snack before you cook and hungrier and more likely to accept new foods.
Create a calm, relaxed eating environment, away from the TV (ipad, phone …) – make it an event (I know not always possible after a long day at work) but it should be a positive time of chatting to housemates or your partner or kids.
Stress clouds our judgement when it comes to food choices so eating when not stressed is key.
Getting a veg box delivered can help widen your repertoire of food – it forces you to cook and try new things!
Always make sure you have foods on your plate that you do like so that you don’t go hungry if you don’t like the new addition.
Serving a vegetable with a tasty dip has been found to increase consumption, plus resulted in people liking the vegetable without the dip.
Serving a variety of vegetables with a meal was found to increase consumption of vegetables.
Don’t despair if you don’t like it first time round – it can take up to 8 times to like a new food!
Try it in different guises – eg eggs scrambled / poached / boiled or kale fried / steamed / in curries
Food education: read foodie books / blogs / Youtube videos. I like using Jamie Oliver or BBC Good Food websites, for recipes with minimal fuss and short lists of ingredients.
Strive to add a new food into your repertoire every third day.
Grow it / pick it / cook it – don’t give up!
And if all else fails, get yourself a good baseline multi vitamin and mineral especially if you’re under a lot of stress, although supplements should never be used as a substitute for food….always food first, however beige that might be!
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