When I decided to cut meat out of my diet worry circulated amongst others. Would I be able to stay healthy? How would I get my protein and iron? Admittedly, this was a fact which worried me also, and which led to my decision to become a pescetarian rather than a vegetarian. I was also known for being a fussy eater in my younger years, and even at a later stage in life. I guess until it became embarrassing to leave vegetables behind on the plate. I didn’t even eat pizza until I was 16 and that is one of the greatest junk foods alive! Nevertheless, approximately one and a half years into my new lifestyle choice, I am healthy and enjoying my new widespread taste palate. Some people are shocked to see the types of foods I eat now and I am proud to have turned my eating habits around. I know I am not alone in regards to restricted eating and thought I would share some tips with you as to how I expanded my food horizons.
Test the water – We all have those foods which we say we don’t like but don’t actually know why. Adulthood is a good time to re-test these flavours. Ask friends or family for a little nibble of their lunch/dinner if there is something you want to taste. There is no point spending a lot of money on something that may potentially be dumped in the bin. I also tended to taste things for the first time in restaurants, by buying the food myself, or again tasting from the plate of another. This is not a good solution for some budgets, but it worked for me as many restaurants in Berlin are relatively cheap. As a bad cook, I didn’t want to prepare a food badly and put myself off it for life.
Start small – Sometimes you may taste a food and not immediately recoil in disgust. This is a good sign and you may actually end up like the item in question. This happened me with a few food items, namely fish and nuts. So, I started small knowing that immediately jumping into eating an octopus would put me back at square one. I began eating healthy nuts (almonds, cashews, etc) roasted and with salt. Not exactly healthy I know. It helped me get used to the flavour thought and now I eat them in their natural form. With fish, I started with fish fingers. I now eat salmon, cod, calamari and tuna, and am working my way up to other things.
Change the flavour up – This ties in with my nut example above. There were many vegetables I did not like before, now there are very few I dislike. What did I do to combat this? Lots of curry sauce! Eating vegetable covered in curry sauce helped me build up a taste for them. Now, I even venture into eating salads with no dressing! Pick a sauce you like and slap it on until you are comfortable with the taste and texture of the vegetables, or another food you are trying to introduce.
There you have it – my top tips into introducing new foods into your diet. They make not work for everyone, but they certainly helped me. The main thing to remember, however, is not to be afraid. As gross as this sounds, you can always spit it out and after one bite, you need never eat that item again. I still struggle a bit with eating some foods though and would appreciate any tips which can help me confirm my love/hatred for them. I would also appreciate some suggestions of new and exotic things to try!