Children are often picky eaters. They don’t like slimy green things (like most vegetables), and they refuse to try new foods. Luckily, most of us grow out of that phase and learn to enjoy a balanced diet.
But not everyone.
At our California weight loss clinics, we teach our clients to eat intuitively while sticking to healthy foods. Some people just can’t—or won’t—eat a wide variety of foods. Usually, adult picky eaters prefer processed foods and soda, which sabotage their health and weight loss goals. Giving up your favorite foods for healthier choices can seem daunting and is a reason many people fail to lose weight or fail to even get started.
However, with a little effort, you can retrain yourself to eat—and enjoy—healthier food options. You can also find ways to make your healthy foods taste amazing!
Take Baby Steps
There’s no need to go full throttle right out of the gate. Some people do better taking baby steps to healthier eating. You eat the foods you do because they’re tasty and you enjoy them. So often, the best thing you can do is to reengineer your favorite foods into healthier versions. There are plenty of recipe hacks online to help you do that.
If you enjoy fatty foods like bacon, cheese, and sour cream, search for good tasting lower fat replacements. Once you’re used to the lower-fat versions, see if you can find even healthier plant-based options that taste delicious. For example, swap your bacon for turkey bacon, your sour cream for Greek yogurt.
You can do the same with sugary foods. If you love soda and hate water, switch to diet soda first. Most taste better than they did even a decade ago, and some are made with stevia. Once you’ve gotten used to diet drinks, switch to flavored sparkling waters and eventually add more plain water daily.
You can even try this soda hack: Add a drop of cola or root beer flavored stevia into plain soda water, and you have a great tasting soda without any calories or unhealthy sugars. Experiment with the different stevia flavors to make a variety of sodas.
Call in the Cavalry
Picky eaters generally don’t fall far from the tree. If others in your family struggle with picky eating, team up and encourage each other to try new healthier foods. Ask your friends to help you to try their favorite healthy foods and recipes.
If you have unusually intense cravings for certain (or odd) foods, you may want to schedule a visit with your doctor to check for any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.
Many picky eaters find that speaking to one of our Healthy Steps support team members helpful. We understand that sometimes picky eaters need extra support, so we are here to provide it to you!
Make A Game of It
Some picky eaters find that making a game out of finding new foods to eat can help make mealtimes easier. Try to find a new one per day to eat. Even if it’s something simple like changing brands of salad dressing, or trying a vegetable you’ve never had before. See how many days in a row you can do that.
Reward yourself. Set up a system of rewards for every time you eat a healthy new food. You could treat yourself to a spa day or a new pair of jeans. Just don’t make your reward your old food.
Don’t Let Picky Eating Ruin Your Health
Changing your diet may seem overwhelming, and it’s easy to give up. However, you don’t have to let picky eating keep you from incorporating healthy choices into your diet. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is eating habits.
If you’re struggling with picky eating, come into one of our clinics to learn how you can lose weight while still enjoying the foods you like to eat.