How to Learn to Like New Foods
Not everyone is born to love fruits and vegetables. Some people describe vegetables to have a bitter taste or have a texture that is squishy or slimy for that matter. What would you say if I told you that these people aren't "picky" but maybe have a propensity to tasting bitter foods?
Some research suggests that people who have two different copies of a gene component for the taste gene, TAS2R38 are more likely to taste bitter than folks without the same genetic makeup1. Fascinating, right?
But what can you do about it?
Learning to "like" a new taste takes time, repeated exposure and patience!
Here are some ways that we recommend you incorporate new foods practically into your diet:
1. Pick one new food at a time. If your goal is to eat 5 vegetables and fruits each day, work your way up from where you currently are. Take inventory of how many fruits and vegetables you eat in a typical week (some people choose to use a food diary or log to do this, which we offer a photo food log option to minimize the time you spend on this task).
2. Only add one new piece of produce at a time. Repeat this every day for at least 7 weeks. Why 7 weeks? We know from research completed in folks trying to lower salt in their diets that it typically takes 6-8 weeks to adjust to a lower salt taste.
3. Be patient with food preparation. Some foods have milder tastes when they are consumed raw (like tomatoes), while other foods become more flavorful when sauteed, boiled, grilled or baked (like onions and leafy greens). Be adventurous with food preparation. If you always try a specific food.
North Texas Nutrition Associates dietitians are seasoned at guiding patients towards more varied diets. If you or your child are experiencing "extreme picky eating" behaviors, a consultation and action plan may help. In children, this often requires communication with your child's entire care team.
2. The American Heart Association
3. The National Kidney Foundation
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