Are you a picky eater, or do you have picky eaters in your household? Shifting to a plant-based diet often means shifting our taste buds, which can be a difficult task for picky eaters. Starting out with flavors you’re comfortable with, along with plant foods without strong flavor notes, is a good first step in making this shift. Test out some of these recommendations for adults struggling with picky eating, or parents struggling with picky kids.
Start out with simple recipes that are known to be popular even amongst picky eaters, like chili and other soups, fruit, and grain- and potato-based dishes. For vegetables you’re picky about, try different methods of preparing them. If you don’t like raw broccoli, try steaming, blanching, or roasting it.
Make a list of flavors, spices, or any specific foods that you’re not willing to include in dishes, and a second list of whole, plant-based foods, spices, and herbs that you like. After you have your lists, try to find recipes with foods and flavors from the second list, but make some slightly unfamiliar additions. This will gradually expand your taste preferences, giving you more options and variety. You can read more about these tips from The Picky Eater Challenge.
If you have a picky child, try involving him or her in the process, whether it’s cooking, grocery shopping, or trips to your local farmers’ market. Our taste buds can be formed through experience, so the more exposure to all of the steps involved in food preparation, the better. You may find Lindsay Nixon’s tips on “Raising Herbies” to be a helpful resource.
As you start including more fruits and veggies in your diet, try sneaking vegetables into fruit smoothies during this transition.