Are You A Picky Eater?

Friday, August 19, 2016

All of us have foods that somehow turn us off. As adults, we despair of children or teens who are picky eaters and wonder why they can't appreciate good food. But then, we all have our own Achilles heels around the dining table. 

Sometimes it is a hangover from childhood - a food we hated then that we haven't come to terms with yet. Sometimes it's food with negative memories attached to it - like when we ate too much cheese and then were sick. Sometimes, it's an entirely new prejudice. We don't like the look of it, or the feel, or the smell. 

A lot of us have these food-based prejudices for no real reason. Unless we have sampled the food and confirmed our dislike, it's not like we're being totally rational. And so, if we want our kids to be unfussy eaters, it could be worth trying some of the things you've previously rejected.


There are great numbers of people who simply will not eat any seafood. That's to say they won't eat cod, plaice, sole, tuna, salmon, prawns, oysters, any of that at all. Those of us who enjoy these foods find that hard to compute; these foods are diverse and just "not liking seafood" seems odd. But for some people it's the smell - it can be overpowering. For some it's the texture of raw fish, which isn't pleasant.

However, there are so many different types to try. As an entry point, give shrimp a chance - once you're over the texture, the burst of flavor is attractive. Fried scallops, from a source like, can also be a good start.

Spicy Food

The issues that some people have with spice seem weird to many. From "I want to know what I'm eating" to "spice is used to mask the taste of bad food", curry and chilli lovers have heard them all. And to be fair, if the spice is all you taste, then you are eating a bad meal. However, as well as being healthy, spice can bring out the best flavors in a range of foods. 

As a starting point, fans of Indian food should introduce reluctant experimenters with a mild curry like a Korma. Once the fear of spice is departed, work up the chain to find an acceptable level. For Mexican dishes, a two-alarm Chili Con Carne is a decent beginning.


There seems to be a point in most of our lives when we stop being scared of garlic. But equally, due to its strong taste (hands up who was tricked into eating a garlic candy as a kid!), it can be off-putting. It certainly needs to be treated with caution. Use too much, and it's all you'll smell for days.

But garlic is pretty close to an essential for a healthy diet. On seeing the proven health benefits it has, you'd be hard pushed not to call it a superfood. For people reluctant to eat it, a good place to start is a garlic-crumb coating for grilled chicken or fish. Before long, you'll find your level.

The thing about almost all foods that people find off-putting is that they're so good for you. From oily fish's Omega 3 content, to the antibacterial properties of garlic, they're really worth growing to love. And love them you will - even if it takes awhile!

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- J. R. R. Tolkien

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