by Jenny Medlicott
Being a picky eater isn’t the easiest way of life. Many people hear “I’m a fussy eater” as “I take having food for granted” or “I refuse to try new foods”. But this is honestly not the case.
If you think us fussy eaters are just doing it to be difficult, I’m afraid you really have no idea how little fun and awkward it is for us. As a picky eater, I can tell you now, I hate being fussy. I wish I could eat every type of food I’m offered; instead of having to politely but awkwardly decline dinner at my friend’s or force down something I hate.
Despite my inconsiderate taste buds, growing up I had to find a way to incorporate much needed fruit and veg into my selective diet, so over the years I’ve developed ways and routines to ensure that this happens. Particularly at Uni not liking many foods means anything green and healthy can disappear from student’s diets completely.
While every fussy eater is different, in my personal experience these ways into eating more fruit and veg work for other picky eaters. I first began trialling different fruits as a kid, and took note of any of the onesI liked or could even somewhat tolerate; then begun a new routine. I certainly had enough chocolate in my diet so I decided to use that as a basis to form a pact with myself; no chocolate till I’ve had at least a few pieces of fruit that day. Not only does it feel rewarding finally making it to that point in the day where you’ve reached your daily target, but it leaves you feeling proud and pretty good about yourself. Besides, doesn’t the wait just make the chocolate that bit sweeter? Giving yourself a reward for eating more healthy things is a great way to start eating more of the good stuff.
One of my favourite ways to make sure I get a decent amount of fruit and even some veg in my diet is smoothies. For me the idea of being able to get a few portions of fruit and veg in from just one drink is amazing. Whilst it may seem like an obvious solution, until a few years ago this was an idea that never actually occurred to me; so once I discovered it, I was hooked. As far as I’m concerned there’s literally no downside to smoothies! I mean a thirst quenching, energizing, transportable, delicious and healthy drink? How could you say no?
While I can occasionally sneak a bit of spinach of even carrots into a smoothie, I generally struggle much more with getting vegetables into my diet. I have a sweet tooth so the thought of broccoli doesn’t exactly make me jump with joy. As a child, I straight up refused to eat vegetables and any time my mum tried to convince me otherwise it only ended with a tantrum. But as it turns out there was light at the end of the tunnel, more food awaited my discovery. Although I can’t seem to completely alter my taste bud’s natural aversion to vegetables, I’ve found they aren’t quite so bad when diluted with other, nicer foods that I actually like. Perhaps broccoli is not so bad with chicken, or peas aren’t so gross with fish and chips. And maybe if you cut up the veg really small I can manage a heavily seasoned veg stir-fry. Yes, the non-fussy people reading this may be laughing thinking that these really aren’t the healthiest meals in the world but if I didn’t eat vegetables like this I wouldn’t eat them at all. So if you, like me, struggle with getting in any vegetables at all why not try slowly introducing them into your favourite meals.
Fussy eaters have many trials to face and while I still have to occasionally turn down the more adventurous meals my friends make at least I’m getting in some nutrients. Have hope fussy eaters, you aren’t actually going to wither away in a state of malnutrition. Buy a blender and start small- you’ll get there in the end.