How to Become a Less Picky Eater
When you dislike most of the foods that you know are good for you, the idea of having a healthy diet sounds… gross. Food is a major part of living — too big to think about every single meal being an unpleasant experience for the rest of your life.
I know that’s how I used to feel about it when I was a picky eater (maybe one of the pickiest).
Whether it’s you or someone in your family, becoming a less picky eater is a big step, but not an impossible roadblock.There were two times in my life where I accidentally experimented on myself and discovered this was true.
Now you can learn from my experience rather than having to stumble upon the truth like I did.
When I was a kid, I would have preferred to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at every meal. It wasn’t the only thing I liked, but almost.
As I grew up and turned into a sophisticated, teenaged gentleman, my tastes became more cultured as well. That is, I added ramen noodles and canned ravioli to my menu.
Then, when I became a young adult and moved out on my own, that’s when the first experiment took place.
I had very little money and I wasn’t about to learn how to make inexpensive home cooked meals that I knew I wouldn’t like. Fast food was my go-to, but even that got expensive for as much as I relied on it. So, a bit too often, I would choose to not eat.
(Side note: if you aren’t realizing at this point just how picky of an eater I was, you’re not paying attention.)
It got to a point where I felt sick all the time and started to think something was wrong with me. Of course, I didn’t put 2 and 2 together that it was because I was literally starving myself. Then one day I finally had a giant meal and realized it made me feel better.
From there on out, when I had the opportunity to eat, I ate whatever I could.
If I went to a friend’s house for dinner, I had a serving of everything. Even if I hated it.
If I ate out, I didn’t ask to make substitutions or have items removed. I ate it all. Even if it had mushrooms in it. (Yuck.)
After a few weeks, I noticed I didn’t mind certain foods as much. I even enjoyed some of it.
Though it was an experiment born of necessity rather than any kind of scientific curiosity, it caused me to become a more well-rounded eater.
This story took place only a couple years ago.
I decided to start taking a supplement I hadn’t used before. (I won’t name it, because I don’t want to endorse it. You can see what supplements we do recommend here if you’re interested.)
I don’t know how to describe the taste other than to say, imagine the most bitter flavor you’ve ever experienced, mix it in your mind with that tang you get when you throw up a little in your mouth, and that’ll get you in the ballpark.
(I tried to get Megan to taste it, but she still won’t. Not sure why.)
It was so bad, I almost just threw the bottle away. But I didn’t, and within just a few days, the taste became more tolerable.
After several weeks, it never got to the point where I’d say I liked it (I don’t think that’s possible for something that started out so foul), but it did get to where the flavor didn’t bother me in the slightest.
I eventually stopped taking the supplement because I wasn’t seeing any benefit from it. Had there been a benefit, though, I didn’t have any problem with the taste where it would have prevented me from sticking with it.
This isn’t revolutionary stuff. Most people are well aware that you can acquire new tastes over time. There are plenty of real studies to back it up (like this one).
The purpose of this blog isn’t to tell you something you already know. Instead, I have 3 reasons for writing this:
If you have the idea in your head that learning to like new foods is an endless series of torturous meals, it’s not!
While there’s no guarantee you’ll end up liking every food you try, if you’re going to acquire a taste for something, it doesn’t have to take forever. For me, it was only a matter of weeks.
2. Firsthand Proof
Not only have I found it possible for my tastes to change, my experience has shown me even the pickiest of eaters can learn to love certain foods.
On top of that, as I learned from the nastiest supplement on Earth, I know the worst case outcome of trying new foods is that, if I stick with it, I’ll at least be able to tolerate them… even foods that used to be repulsive to me.
If possible, when trying to acquire a new taste, it helps if you can mix it in with other foods you like. That way most of your meal can still be enjoyable and you’ll trick your brain into associating the new foods with a more pleasant experience.
Also, there’s no reason you have to eat any one specific food item. Pick your battles. Choose things that aren’t too much of a stretch for you. Remember it may take a few weeks, so be consistent about eating the new food regularly.
Then take your wins where you can get them, and don’t worry about the rest. In doing it that way, you’ll find different levels of success.
I enjoy a lot more vegetables now, like Brussels sprouts.
I still don’t care for mushrooms, but I don’t have to pick them out of a meal.
I can’t stand green olives, and that’s something I have no interest in changing.
Overall, I’d say I’m not a picky eater anymore, I’m particular. If I have a choice, I’d still rather stay away from certain things. But there are very few foods I won’t eat, so I have much more opportunity to have nutritious meals on a regular basis.
That’s a pretty big step up from only eating PBJ’s. (Which are still SO good.)
Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. What’s the point in even trying new foods if you aren’t sure the choices you’re making are all that great to begin with?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a personal coach you could talk to whenever you have questions like, “Are sweet potatoes better than potatoes?” “Is rice good for you?” “How much of my favorite foods can I eat and still reach my goals?”
With customized, 1-on-1 coaching, we’re available to help when you need it most. There’s no reason to ever have to wonder about these things again. Click here to see how our coaching works.