Expanding Your Horizons With Food

A while back a friend of mine was looking for healthier options for food. As she got many suggestions, she would occasionally say she didn’t like a particular suggestion. She then asked us if we really like the foods we are eating. She didn’t believe us that we could truly love the healthy foods we suggested eating. Ever since that Facebook post, I have thought about food and truly enjoying it. As I recently sat eating my plain oatmeal with fresh fruit, this post idea hit me. I eat plain oatmeal with fruit pretty much every day. Every. Day. However, if you would have put that bowl in front of me when I was in my 20′s, I could not choke it down. Oatmeal in my 20′s meant the packets you bought at the store. There is no way I would have eaten plain oatmeal like I do now.

Eating plain oatmeal makes me think of my stepdad. He used to eat plain oatmeal and plain yogurt. I remember having a conversation with him about eating things plain and HOW COULD HE LIKE IT? My step dad died seven years ago. Anytime I eat my plain oatmeal (still can’t do plain yogurt- I need a little honey!), I wish I could have another conversation with my step dad about my current food choices. I am sure he would get a kick out of knowing that my preferences have changed. I know he would be pleasantly surprised to hear that I can eat fresh broccoli and cauliflower along with my plain oatmeal (just not together- ew).

I decided to ask my Facebook friends if their food preferences have changed, especially in the recent years as they have gotten older. I had numerous posts of people saying how they now like a veggie that they used to hate. Most people admitted that liking a new food was a recent experience. Perfect example: a couple weeks ago we had dinner at a friend’s house. They roasted brussel sprouts. I have not had brussel sprouts since my stepmom used to make me eat them. I have vivid memories of getting busted by her when I was caught throwing my brussel sprouts near my little sister’s area of the table. Haha. I hated brussel sprouts when I was a kid so I have always declined eating them if they were offered. However, I decided to put on my big girl pants recently and give them another try. I liked them! I could repeat a similar story about a lot of other veggies that I used to dislike but now eat on a regular basis: broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, onions, avocado, asparagus- the list could go on and on.

Let’s go back to my friend’s original question: do I really like those foods? Yes, I really do like those foods! A few of my friends commented how a certain food is prepared can make a huge difference when trying a food you have not liked in the past. Broccoli is a good example in my case. I started eating it steamed. I didn’t like it in any other way but as I continued to eat steamed broccoli, I decided to try it fresh again. Guess what? Liked it. Depending on my mood, I sometimes need to eat it with hummus or ranch but I typically eat it plain. If you have kids, you know that introducing new foods can be interesting. It can take many, many tries (thought I remember hearing up to 20 times) before a child will accept a new taste. Sure, there will be foods that we will never like- mine is raw tomato. Ick. But the majority of the time, I would guess that you can learn to like a new food if you give it another chance.

Why should we expand our horizons with food? Why should you try eating broccoli if you have never liked it in the past? As an adult, I have learned the value of food. Obviously, a side a broccoli is going to better than a side of french fries for you in the long run. Does it mean I will turn down french fries every time? Nope. If you have read any of my posts ever, you know that I believe in moderation. Life is just too short to turn down french fries every time! However, I know that veggies are better for me. I need those nutrients on a daily basis. I feel better when I eat the healthier foods. Who ever feels fantastic after eating a a super sized fast food meal? Pretty much no one. I realize the importance of vegetables so I am going to continue eating them. I will also continue to try foods that I do not particularly like but know I should consume for the health benefits.

Challenge yourself to try foods you have not liked in the past. Try them a different way. Make small, gradual changes to your food choices. I did not start liking all of those veggies at once. I gradually added them into my routine. I also gradually tried eating them in different ways. You are an adult now. Eat your veggies!

How about you? Do you now eat a particular food that you previously disliked? Why do you eat it now?


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