Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a notoriously fussy eater. As a teenager, cakes, biscuits, chips and Super Noodles all made the grade but fruit, vegetables and salad were lacking from my plate. My favourite meal was chicken noodles with cheese and crunched up crisps, lumped inside peanut butter on toast. Why I wasn’t obese I’ll never know. It’s pretty difficult to eat out when you immediately don’t like 90% of what’s on the menu, and eating at other people’s houses is a minefield. I’ve become quite adept at rearranging food on a plate to make it look as though I’ve eaten loads, which is almost definitely one for the CV.
At my first job after finishing my degree, I worked with a very lovely married couple who took me under their wing and tried to help me along to a healthier lifestyle. They encouraged me to drink smoothies, add a tiny bit of salad to my lunch and be a bit more adventurous when I was cooking at home. When I moved to Brighton, I suddenly had to do all of my cooking myself. There’s nothing like doing your own supermarket shop and filling your own to make you realise just how much crap you’re putting into your body. Paired with my decision to run a half marathon, I went on a bit of a health kick and started trying new food.
When fruit and salad makes you gag and the only vegetable you can stomach is carrots, trying new things can be pretty daunting. Over the years I’ve found a few things that have helped me to add a few more healthy things to my repertoire.
Cheese really does work wonders. Add it to anything and it’ll make it tasty. Maybe not fruit, but vegetables taste better when slathered in lovely yellow dairy. It may be unhealthier to begin with, but if you use less and less cheese each time you’ll eventually be used to whatever flavour it us you’re trying.
Chop things up really small and add them to food you already like. Add chopped up fruit to yoghurt, dice some vegetables and add to some potatoes, add something extra to mashed potato, cut up some veg sticks and cover them in houmous, sneak some mushrooms into your bolognese…
If, like me, it’s the texture/tartness of fruit that you take issue with, smoothies are your new best friend. I love fruit juice and fruit flavoured things, but something about real fruit makes me feel horrid. A smoothie maker was one of the best things I’ve ever bought! Tinned peaches and pineapple in juice, with a little frozen melon makes a slushy, delicious treat.
Making something yourself usually makes you more likely to eat it. Experiment with new ingredients – make sushi, bake cheese and spinach muffins, dip vegetable sticks in cheese fondue or roast some broccoli with garlic and lemon juice. Flavour things with your favourite herbs and oils to make them more palatable.
Finally – try and make sure that you’re hungry when you try new things as you’re more likely to shovel it down without really thinking about it.
Do you have any good tips for learning to eat healthily?
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