In the land of picky eating, I once reigned as queen. Processed carbs were my vassals. Flavor, my sworn enemy.
When I tried new foods, it felt like a terrible explosion in my mouth. Sometimes it still does.
My mom told me I’d thrive in jail. “All you need is bread and butter,” she said. Maybe that’s why I became a criminal defense attorney.
What to Do
- Try New Foods. Obviously.
I love tomatoes. And I still can’t believe it.
Like most foods, tomatoes were once my enemy. Just the tiniest sliver made my whole mouth feel like it was vibrating. What monster brought these wretched things into being?
One day, I just grabbed a tomato and vowed that I would love it. In fact, I would make love to it. So I started adding tiny bits of tomato to my meals.
I’d put it on my fork, together with other flavors to drown it out. And I did it over and over and over again. I never made myself eat all of the tomato, but I always made myself have at least a little bit.
Now I love tomatoes. Weird. But that’s how our brain works.
2. Start With Iceberg, then Romaine.
I wanted to eat salads, but I could NOT stand greens, let alone dark greens.
I found iceberg lettuce tolerable, but I knew it had zero health value. So what, who cares? Eat it anyway. Soon you’ll move onto romaine, which is a little better. And after that, you’ll move on to darker greens.
When I first started eating salads, I used the following ingredients:
- iceberg lettuce
- microwavable popcorn chicken (yes, breaded)
- hardboiled egg
- small amount of shredded mozzarella cheese
- croutons or crushed up saltines
- small amount of kraft french dressing
Not exactly the picture of health. But it was a step.
Later, I would start using grilled chicken. Then I would add romaine. Eventually I removed the cheese. I added cucumbers. I added a little bit of tomato. Soon, I started mixing in dark greens.
..But not that soon. It probably took a good 6 months. I started with baby spinach. Arugula is good too.
At some point, the croutons were replaced with seeds. All of this happened because I wanted it to. Not because I made myself. I was getting tired of iceberg lettuce, and I wanted more flavor. Trust me, you will too.
3. Do a Several Day Juice Fast
There is a lot of controversy surrounding juice fasts. I won’t get into that here. But I will tell you this. Juice fasts absolutely 100% changed my food preferences for the better.
Once I finished a 10 day juice fast, I craved healthy food. After 10 days of juice, all I wanted was a salad.
Maybe 10 days is extreme. Try 3 days. Or maybe juice is too extreme. Try smoothies. All you need is veggies, fruits, and a blender.
I got my recipes (and inspiration) here.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Like juice fasting, a 5:2 diet will help you crave healthier foods. I don’t know why, but it works. Maybe 5:2 isn’t for everyone, I don’t know. For me, it helps regulate appetite. And I was a binger of the highest order.
I don’t actively do 5:2, I just kind of do it naturally. It feels like the right way for me to eat now, and I imagine it will be for a long time.
For more on 5:2 check out “The Fast Diet” by Dr. Michael Mosley. Or, if you don’t want to read a book, check out the BBC Documentary “Eat Fast Live Longer” also featuring Dr. Mosley. It’s free on YouTube.
Share the Wealth
Do you have any tips or experience with regards to healthy eating for picky eaters?
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