No, that’s not what I say to my kids. I say it to myself. I don’t force feed myself. I simply encourage myself to eat something I don’t like, which is healthy, and continue to try the food until I like it.
Sounds nutty, I know. The thing is, at age 21, I probably liked four different vegetables. No make that three since tomato is a fruit. I know that veggies are majorly important and yet how does one eat them if they’re gross?
So I made myself like veggies. I ate them in small portions all the while thinking, “mmm mmmmm delicious!” Again, this DOES sound weird. But one day I read in a gourmet food magazine that broad tastes are acquired. “Acquired?”, I thought. So people learn to like different foods through like…practice? Basically, yes.
Since, I have expanded my list of loved vegetables from three to about 20. I also now appreciate a multitude of herbs and spices which help flavor food in place of extra butter and salt. Having extra veggies to choose from helps deflect my tendency to fill up on “go to” foods like bread. It makes life as a healthy eater more bearable because of the added variety and excitement from all the different possibilities and combinations.
When I had my kids I vowed I’d get them to eat “adult foods”. And so far so good. They eat broccoli with the same urgency with which they eat ice cream. They try nine out of ten foods that I offer them. They don’t know what it’s like to eat a sandwich with white bread. They love chicken and mushrooms in a white wine sauce with brown or wild rice.
People had told me kids just don’t like certain foods. Then I noticed many adults I knew had a very limited palate. They like what they like and they don’t try anything new. And that is fine except if what you like isn’t the best option for good health, then you’re sort of in a pickle.
How does one learn to like something your tongue denies? I don’t know. All I know is that I went from hating many foods to genuinely loving them. My kids hated broccoli for a long time but after letting them try it again and again (never forcing them to eat it), they finally took to it.
I think it’s possible to eat something until you really like it. It won’t happen with everything but if you learn to like one new healthy food, I say that’s a win. Give it a go. Just don’t try to like all the world’s desserts. I do and it’s a dangerous thing!