The Problem with Picky Eating

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Lili, gettin' her adventurous eats on with avocado.  

It likely started when you wrinkled your nose and squished your face in disgust after mouthing a spoonful of baby food veggies.  After the third attempt to get the dang stuff to stay in despite your protesting tongue and grimacing little mug, your parents threw their hands up in the air and deemed you don't like veggies.  Maybe henceforth you scored and rarely had to wrestle with that business, leaving sweet fruits and teething crackers and cookies to welcome you with open arms into the world of big people food.   

My intention in this blog isn't to 1) claim that your parents failed you, nor 2) allow you off the hook if you have grown into a big person picky eater.  First, very few new parents/caregivers are educated that it can take 12-14 "food exposures" (neutral, relaxed offerings of a food in which infants can comfortably explore it without being forced to eat it) before a child actually chews and swallows and accepts a new food.  Isn't the natural response to prevent further frustration for your child and you if he/she's not down with the green beans?  If you want more information on how to get started with healthy food introduction and ways to promote an adventurous little eater, give me a holler!

Secondly, if you managed to wiggle your way through your formative years consuming non-threatening packaged or processed pseudo-foods, engineered by Big Food to be hyper-palatable and crack-like (Toaster Strudal, anyone?  Yes please.), it's time to put your big boy/girl underoos on and face the facts.  Picky eaters often consume insufficient phytonutrient-rich foods, lean proteins and healthful fats.  This is a burden on your body and brain, expediting aging and risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc., not to mention the tax on your family and our healthcare system (if you are willing to expand and see the consequences beyond yourself).  

Ok.  So.  Let's say you have made it thus far into the blog AND feel some inspiration to embark on expanding your picky palate.  Just like recommendations for the lil' boo's, here's how to get the party started.

1) Keep it simple and inexpensive.  Frozen veg (let's say phytonutrient-rich veg are your kryptonite) are just as nutrient-dense as the fresh stuff.  AND, you can toss them back in the freezer between trials so they don't rot in your fridge.  Purchase a variety and take a SMALL amount out at a meal. Heat 'em up and add seasonings and/or a little olive oil or Smart/Earth Balance to flavor 'em up.  

2) You may like them frozen and steamed, you might like them raw w/ Bolthouse dressing or hummus.  The point here is to try small amounts every day in a VARIETY of different ways.  

3) Remember, YOU'RE your own Momma Bear now, creating the practice of MULTIPLE, relaxed food exposures to wake up and make your taste buds far more flexible.  Practice patience, curiosity and adventurousness.

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Questions?  Feedback?  Let me know!

Fuel Well.  Be Well.

Em