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Picky Eater Advice?


swarneke

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I am horrible about eating vegetables. I really don't want to or refuse to eat most of them. Right now, I'll eat lettuce for salads, carrots, corn, peas (though I'd rather not), potatoes, and celery (only if I have to).

 

I know I need to do better about eating more vegetables, but I'm having a hard time finding "good" suggestions online. Everything almost always ends up being "You're an adult. Suck it up." and doesn't give any practical advice for where to start beyond roasting everything. I'm rather leery of cooked vegetables outside of potatoes. I don't know if I had a bad experience when I was younger that I'm blocking out or seeing stereotypical reactions to cooked veggies on tv is altering my opinion or what.

 

So anyway, my question is this: Does anyone have any suggestions for what kind of vegetables I should start with to increase my palate?

 

I've heard that jicama, if you can find it, can be a good start because it's sweeter and has an apple-like texture. I'm also going to try sweet potato chips. I don't think I'll ever get to eating them mashed - something about the texture (ironic, I know) of mashed potatoes bothers me.

 

I'm also considering cucumber because I don't mind watermelon, even though it's not something I would regularly eat.

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Unfortunately yeah, suck it up is the best advice you are going to get. You are an adult, and part of being an adult means doing things you may not like.

 

That means try all the veggies raw first (since you state you prefer them that way)

 

Take the ones you liked the best from the raw experiment and try sauteing them lightly so they are still crispy. Then do the same with the ones you didn't like.

 

Go from that to roasting them.

 

Go from that to soups and purees.

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Hi!

I hate eating vegetables as well.

I started with pretty much the same ones you eat.

I advise you to try raw aurugula with dry tomatoes in oil. 

 

And the most important, you should really try broccoli. I hated it but kept trying til i managed to eat. It used to make me sick sometimes.

Put some butter on it and it must go down without suffering :)

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Hi!

I hate eating vegetables as well.

I started with pretty much the same ones you eat.

I advise you to try raw aurugula with dry tomatoes in oil. 

 

And the most important, you should really try broccoli. I hated it but kept trying til i managed to eat. It used to make me sick sometimes.

Put some butter on it and it must go down without suffering :)

 

I've heard that if you like carrots, lettuce, and celery that you'll probably like broccoli. I'll have to give it a try this weekend when I can hopefully "borrow" some from my parents.

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Go to restaurants and eat veggies there.  Seriously, it is SO much easier to try a new veggie if someone else is doing the prep work for you.  That's how I figured out I like summer squash, acorn squash, bell peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes.  Also, try green smoothies.  Just google them or look for them on pinterest.  You'll find some good stuff.

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Well, I tried jicama. It's kind of weird, but I like it. It was definitely better after I tossed it with some lime juice.

 

I haven't gotten around to making sweet potato chips yet, but it's on my list for next week.

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I definitely second the recommendation for green smoothies - it will get you eating kale, spinach and such greens without having to taste them, really, and then you can branch out into actually... tasting them!

 

I don't have your problem of not liking vegetables in general, but I do have a few that I just don't much like (radishes, turnips, beets,brussel sprouts, etc.) So, a challenge that I set to myself is to pick a vegetable (I've started with radishes) and try at least three different preparations of it (based off a blog I found where a mom did this with her kids). Chances are, if you try a vegetable several times, even just the familiarity will help with liking it, but you'll also find that one preparation style is better than another. Look for recipes that sound interesting. So for example, a radish cream cheese spread was delicious, but radishes in a yogurt/vinegar sauce was weird. However, I had a japanese radish in store-bought kimchee that was good, and I haven't tried a cooked version, so I've got a little more work to do before I make a final decision! 

 

So, yes- there's a certain level of "suck it up" that needs to happen, but if you make a challenge of it, and commit to trying something several different ways, you'll probably open up some new avenues. I never thought I liked broccoli because I always ate it raw or well cooked (I'd even say overcooked, sorry Mom). However, I found that I love it when it's just barely steamed - takes that nasty raw edge off, but it isn't soft and olive colored, instead lighting up into a vivid green. I still don't like it raw or overcooked, but if I hadn't decided to try it a couple different ways, I would have never discovered that I love broccoli done right!

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Cook them in bacon grease.  Seriously.  I've yet to find a vegetable that doesn't go well with bacon.

 

Cauliflower is a really neutral veggie that takes seasonings well, such as curry, and the texture can be adjusted quite a bit, from raw and crunchy to riced to mashed.

 

Parsnips are like carrots, but a little sweeter.  They are great roasted.

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Cook them in bacon grease.  Seriously.  I've yet to find a vegetable that doesn't go well with bacon.

 

Cauliflower is a really neutral veggie that takes seasonings well, such as curry, and the texture can be adjusted quite a bit, from raw and crunchy to riced to mashed.

 

Parsnips are like carrots, but a little sweeter.  They are great roasted.

 

 ^ This guy knows what he's talking about.  Any veggie is good if you fry it up and add some garlic.  Seriously, frying in bacon grease (or butter or coconut oil or what have you) makes them taste FANTASTIC.  Or, if you eat dairy, try making a cheese or cream sauce and smother the veggies with it.  Even if you don't like cooked veggies, give these a try, you might be surprised!

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For me, as someone who also hated most veggies out there, it helped to do a little bit of research as to what was going on.  I'd cite the article, but it's been ages, and I don't remember where I got it from.  I'm not even sure if the info is accurate, but it made the most sense to me.

 

Anyway, according to the article, as kids, the taste buds that detect bitterness are extra sensitive.  Most things in our environment that are poisonous also taste bitter, and this is evolution's way of keeping us from poisoning ourselves when we're kids.  Unfortunately, a lot of vegetables are also bitter, especially when prepared certain ways.  Maybe our tastes just get imprinted on us at an early age.

 

What helped for me, though, was Asian cuisine.  I would never touch broccoli until I sampled some in Chinese food, and decided that I loved it.  Now, if I go to a Chinese buffet (on the rare occasions that I find a good one), I'll pile my plate up with mostly broccoli.  

 

I guess it's something to do with the soy sauce.

 

I'm rambling now, aren't I?

 

Also, I second Waldo's comment:  Pan-seared asparagus are like french fries to me.

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Oh yea...pan fried green beans with a little bit of butter and kosher salt are delicious.

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For me, as someone who also hated most veggies out there, it helped to do a little bit of research as to what was going on.  I'd cite the article, but it's been ages, and I don't remember where I got it from.  I'm not even sure if the info is accurate, but it made the most sense to me.

 

Anyway, according to the article, as kids, the taste buds that detect bitterness are extra sensitive.  Most things in our environment that are poisonous also taste bitter, and this is evolution's way of keeping us from poisoning ourselves when we're kids.  Unfortunately, a lot of vegetables are also bitter, especially when prepared certain ways.  Maybe our tastes just get imprinted on us at an early age.

 

I think that may be a large part of it for me. My dad isn't exactly ambitious in his veggie eating either, so growing up my mom would rarely cook veggies that he wouldn't eat. Mom sometimes had other things around, but all I can remember is refusing to eat them.

 

I also think that part of the problem is that I used to have pretty bad year-round allergies that took 5 1/2 years of shots to fix. According to my allergies, I used to have one of the highest immunoglobulin E levels that he'd ever seen (it was right around 1,000 when normal maxes at around 120). I was congested almost constantly, so it obviously had an affect on my sense of taste and I'm wondering if that affected my overall distaste for most vegetables because I wasn't tasting them the way they were "supposed" to taste.

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Holy crap I was just about to make a post titled "HELP I HATE VEGETABLES" and I'm glad I found this thread...

 

...Unfortunately it seems like there's just no choice but to 'suck it up'. I've found that I like vegetables prepared with a loooot of garlic, it just masks the earthy smell that I dislike. It also makes me smell like I just swallowed a whole clove but ah well.

 

I'll try the advice on making smoothies... but tbh I'm scared I'll just gag :/ Have you tried it yet?

 

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Honestly I eat vegetables maybe 2-3 times a week (not including things like ketchup or pizza sauce). Not a huge fan and they are a PITA to deal with since they go bad so fast. When we do eat them, it is usually integral to the dish and not a side (like broccoli frittata or stew). You can absolutely get by just fine eating minimal veggies without multivitamins (though you can't also be ditching grains and dairy, that isn't going to work). Veggies have a super low nutritional value, they aren't much more than stomach filler with some micronutrients.

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For my picky kids, before they would eat the veggies in their normal state, I ran EVERYTHING through my food processor, and mixed it into sauces, or soups. (Their favorite meal is still chili made with chopped up zucchini and bell peppers)

 

I would go for the sweeter ones first IE bell peppers, carrots, beets, sugar snap peas, acorn and butternut squash etc, then work my way towards the most bitter like spinach, kale, broccoli. 

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Grow it.

 

There are some things I'll never eat (Brussel Sprouts I'm looking at you!) but other things growing things will give you a much better product (supermarket products are often picked early, artificially ripened and from strains bred for consistancy in size, shape and times of harvest rather than taste and nutrition. It's a beautiful thing to grow your own. I'd suggest courgette (American's use the Italian word I have no idea how to spell. Zucchini?) as they're easy to grow, you pick them as soon as they appear and they keep fruiting until you've eaten courgette (in English it really should be Marrette from Little Marrow but when did english make sense?) and every cupboard is full of courgettes, your friends accuse you of pushing courgettes (when at first they were amazed by the gift) and you're trying to find ways to get rid of it (Courgette chocolate cake? Courgette instead of lasagne sheets? Courgette Jam?) 

 

Seriously, if you leave your car doors open at my allotment you come back to find the car filled with them!

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In hindsight, it's probably a miracle that my dad didn't abandon me as a child for my ridiculously picky eating habits.  That combined with severe allergies and an epic stubborn streak meant that I turned my nose up at most everything when I was a kid.  I've branched out since then, thank goodness.

 

I agree with those who have said to try using bacon and/or dairy as a way to get you started with the veg while making them taste delicious.  Also, UltanBoyd's advice is spot-on.  Vegetables can taste completely different (and MUCH better) if they were grown for taste rather than transportability, and it's important to eat them when they are optimally ripe, as well as when they are prepared correctly.  I always thought I hated tomatoes until I lived in California and had home grown heirloom tomatoes.  Yum!  Turns out, I just hate those mealy flavorless grocery store tomatoes.  I was also deeply convinced that I hated brussels sprouts, but it turns out I just hate them when they are overcooked (sorry, Grandma!).

 

Can you get to a farmer's market?  Those places are amazing for trying new fruit and veg, vendors will often give you samples and ideas about how to prepare their wares.  If not, is there a fancy market or ethnic grocery around you could get to once in a while?  When I am bored to death of broccoli, sometimes I go to the grocery store and buy the weirdest looking fruit or vegetable I can find.  Turns out, jackfruit is delicious, but pepino melons are now dead to me.

 

I can personally confirm that this bacon mushroom cauliflower recipe was incredibly yummy, and really didn't taste like vegetables at all. This one was nice because the cauliflower wasn't pureed, so it still had a nice texture rather than just being paste.

 

I also really love this roasted cauliflower recipe.  You can  change up the flavor of the cauliflower by using differently flavored olive oils or various herbs.

 

The other thing you might try is bartering.  Do you have any friends who are good cooks?  Offer to trade them something if they will make you their favorite vegetable recipe, or just plain old ask them for the recipe.  

 

Good luck!

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I have a few suggestions.  I'm a picky eater myself.  I have found it easier to adopt new foods when I dropped the habit of berating myself just because I couldn't force myself to eat raw onion (BARF).  Seriously, the things smell like an armpit.  I have no idea how to wrap my head around actually LIKING them.  But some people do; go figure.  That leads me to part 2: Some people actually like those vegetables I hate.  So, I asked myself, why is that?  The logic says that there isn't anything necessarily wrong with the food, but it's the way I think about it that keeps me from enjoying the way others do.  Don't force yourself to eat stuff you don't like, but DO force yourself to try new foods, or foods you don't normally like that are prepared in different ways.  Raw onion: only well-marinated in salsa.  Sauteed onion?  In the right mood, sauteed with butter and mixed with mushrooms over steak.  

 

My son is also a notoriously picky eater (he has a non-verbal learning disorder which makes processing physical stimuli a challenge).  It has mostly to do with texture.  He loves mashed potatoes.  LOVES them.  I tried feeding him baked butternut squash with maple syrup, butter and salt & pepper and he wrinkled his nose at it.  "What the hell is that?" he says (he's a teenager).  "Squash." I replied.  His nose wrinkled further.  I hurriedly followed up with, "It's got the same texture as mashed potatoes, but it's sweet."  Nose unwrinkled, he grabbed a plate and I think he ate a half a squash on his own that night.  The moral of the story is: it's not the food, it's the person eating it.  

 

I will say I completely agree with the posters above; you can put butter and bacon bits on anything and make it taste good.  Yes, even brussels sprouts.  

  • Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus spears, basted with garlic butter and thrown on the grill for 5 minutes.
  • Sauerkraut and sausages
  • Green beans pan-fried with butter, olive oil, slivered red peppers, minced garlic, salt & pepper, and sliced almonds.
  • Brussels sprouts: cut them in half lengthwise, cover and simmer them until tender with butter, water, bacon bits, salt & pepper, garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar.  I remove the lid and boil off the water, leaving them with a buttery glaze.  Never any leftovers around our place.
  • Sneak raw baby spinach into your sandwiches/wraps in place of lettuce.  It tastes a little different, but it allows you to say, "Hey!  I ate spinach!"  Next step: try eating spinach on its own in a salad (after all, you just ate it raw in a sandwich, right?).

It helps to go to a really good restaurant and enjoy food the way it was meant to be eaten.  It also helps you to try new foods when you remember that you just paid about $50 a plate to experience it.  The chef is a professional, and he or she is trained to bring out the best of food's flavour and combine it with other foods in such a way that it makes you swoon.  Yes, swoon.  I had a winter salad at my favourite restaurant.  Now, I don't like coleslaw (usually because it's loaded with disgusting raw onion), but this was made with celeriac, apple, cabbage and some sort of amazing dressing that was the perfect blend of tart, sweet and spicy.  And the texture was perfect.  I ate the whole thing without blinking.  If I hadn't paid $50 for my dinner, I probably wouldn't have trusted the cook enough to try it.  My default is to just give my coleslaw to my dinner companions.  So it really is worth going gourmet, where food is art, to try seeing food differently.  Alternatively, make friends with foodies who can inspire a passion for food.  Take some cooking classes.  Learn how to select really good ingredients (farmers markets are GREAT for this), and learn how to properly prepare them.  Screwing up the preparation can really make the whole dish take a nose dive.

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If you're gonna try broccoli and can eat most veggies raw, try eating broccoli raw with ranch as dipping sauce. It tastes a bit bitter with hints of sweetness and the ranch gives it that oomph!

I use to love this as my favorite snack! Couldn't get enough of it! Carrots with ranch never taste as good since then.

since you seem to not like celery and have to force yourself to eat it, you can try putting peanut butter on it. It use to be my favorite snack as a kid. The celery gives it that fresh taste while the peanut butter gives that sweetness.

If you don't like vegetables that have a lot of taste, you can eat cauliflower. It has the least taste with maybe only mild sweetness. You can eat it raw with dipping sauce or fry it up and add bread crumbs for added taste. I ate more of fried with bread crumbs, it taste good.

Edit: Also I'd watch it with sticking to lettuce as a source for nutrients. It's actually the least nutritional of all the vegetables. You don't get a lot of benefits from it.

If you eat a lot of lettuce, make sure you're eating romaine lettuce, it has the most nutrients for a lettuce. Of course, whether you prefer the taste of iceburg lettuce (the least nutritional but it's actually a good source for water), or just eat a lot of salads, make sure to pile on a lot of vegetables so you're not just eating lettuce for your "nutrients".

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