5 Ways to Leave Never Never Land and Stop Eating Like a Kid
We all know the person who whose lip curls up at the sight of a vegetable. They are usually the ones that order one of three items on a menu at any restaurant- the burger, some form of macaroni and cheese, or chicken tenders. Their only acceptable piece of greenery is iceberg lettuce (liberally covered in ranch dressing). Maybe you are this person. I was, too. When I was seven.
I have a co-worker who sneaks vegetables into her 40 year old fiancee’s food. She substitutes part of his mashed potatoes for cauliflower, and is always trying to figure out how to put some spinach in his fruit smoothies in the morning. While I agree that deception and trickery are important when raising a picky child eater, I believe that all grown ass men (and women), should be man (or woman) enough to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. If you are still living in the Never Never Land of eating, come join me in glorious adulthood of food diversity. Here are some tips:
1.) Keep trying food you swear you don’t like
This might sound weird, because you SWEAR you don’t like Brussel sprouts. I also used to gag at the thought of Brussel sprouts because the last time I had them was in second grade at a friends house and her dad boiled them and they tasted like sweaty gym socks. I now know how to roast them with some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper, and they taste like glorious little potato cousins.
2.) Trust the chef
We have all been to a restaurant where you read an item menu and you are wondering why in the world anyone would pair raisins with peas. That sounds disgusting. But guess what- chefs are professional food makers. Their job is to make food that tastes good. Next time you are at a restaurant, trust the chef and try a dish that sounds odd to you. You might be surprised at how delicious it is. Great example- you might think it’s weird to put kale in your morning smoothie, but don’t be scared, the peeps at Happy Belly know how to make it taste amazing!
3.) Switch up your eating style
I used to be the queen of bacon cheeseburgers, steak, and anything pork related. Then I made the crazy jump to going vegetarian and I had to try a ton of new foods or else I would have nothing to eat, and I didn’t want to be a junk food vegetarian. So try going veggie only for two weeks, or Paleo, or adopt a no-processed foods diet. See how creative you become.
4.) Educate yourself
It is a scary journey finding out where most food comes from. The picture ain’t pretty, but it is a big motivator to finding cleaner, more nourishing food sources. Also, when you realize how your old habits aren’t serving your body anymore (helllooo spare tire and high cholesterol), you will feel proud that you are actually giving your body what it needs with a variety of foods grown from the earth. This is why I am such a fan of what Happy Belly is doing for Cincy- they are providing healthy, organic foods that are accessible, delectable, and nourishing. Sorry, rainbow colored breakfast pastries that taste like birthday cake aren’t going to cut it in the mornings anymore.
5.) Just eat the damn salad
Sometimes being an adult means that we have to do things we don’t want to do, like go to the DMV, pay taxes, attend baby showers, and get oil changes. I am a health coach, and on occasion I really just don’t feel like eating a big salad for lunch. I’d rather have macaroni and cheese. But I do it anyways because I know it is good for me, I am getting a ton of important vitamins and minerals, and I won’t feel like a dumpster after I’m finished. If you still want the unhealthy stuff, just sneak in a big, green salad before hand and eat less of the junk. Why do people choose to get prostate exams and colonoscopies all the time, even though they are zero fun? Because it is good for you. So every time you eat a salad, you can think to yourself, “Well at least I’m not getting a colonoscopy right now”.