Friday, August 30, 2013

Confessions of a Reformed Picky Eater

For the greater part of my life I was the pickiest of picky eaters. If it wasn’t Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Ramen noodles, or buffalo wings I was not interested. As a kid you get a pass on being a picky eater, but I had long surpassed the age of acceptability for pickiness. Towards the end of my first year in graduate school, a friend of mine suggested sushi for dinner. I gave her my, “I’ll pass” face and quickly suggested other options. I didn’t like sushi and somehow I knew this even though I’d never tried it before. Fortunately, my friend was very convincing. She had been to this sushi place and was certain that I’d like it if I gave it a try. Begrudgingly I went, already planning where I’d stop to eat later. After about ten minutes of fumbling with my chopsticks I managed to get a roll in my mouth. There was this crazy explosion of flavors and textures. It was – in one word – amazing! I had just discovered the awesomeness that is sushi. What else was I missing out on?

These are just a few of the foods I never would have tried before but now love. From top left: blackened tilapia with mashed sweet potatoes and  strawberry & poppyseed chicken salad. From bottom left : honey habanero bbq sauce (amazeballs!), quinoa and spinach salad with carrot ginger miso dressing, and apple butter!

The truth is being a picky eater does not serve our bodies well. The human body performs a wide variety of functions so it makes sense that we need to eat a wide variety of foods to help it do so. With all kinds of conflicting diet information swirling around, the one thing that nutrition research has consistently shown is that a healthy diet is a balanced one. There’s nothing wrong with having your staple items, but don’t be afraid to add new foods to the mix. I really enjoy going to places like Trader Joe’s or World Market and picking up new items. Each time I go grocery shopping or out to eat I’m excited by the prospect of trying something new and having that sushi moment all over again.

With Labor Day weekend festivities in full effect, now is the perfect time to be adventurous and try some new foods. What are some foods you love now, but never would have touched before? Tell me about it in the comments!

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