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11 May 2007

Askmecha: Healthy Food for a picky eater (me) [More:]I have horrible taste in food. Basically if it's something you could get at a carnival, I probably like it. Hamburgers and Hot Dogs are yummy, so much else freaks me out. The thing is, I know I need to eat better, but I'm not even sure where to start.

The last time, I did it by eating tons of yogurt, cheese sandwiches and cereal. I want to expand my healthy horizons though.

What should I try?
I highly recommend a variety of fruits and vegetables in addition to what you have tried in the past.
posted by LunaticFringe 11 May | 10:01
Dried apricots.
posted by danostuporstar 11 May | 10:03
I'm picky like you. Growing up, my parents never made me try anything, so I got away with the "I don't like it" excuse all the time. I ate Spaghetti-O's at Thanksgiving (I shit you not). So it wasn't until I was in my 20s and saw the people around me eating things other than burgers and pizza that I started to think that I needed to make a change.

The key is to just start trying things. Lots of things that you assume are gross just aren't. And you'll surprise yourself with the things that you like. I ate spinach by mistake one time in a lasagna. Turns out, I love the stuff! Now, a spinach salad is one of my favorite things to eat.

As for easy transition foods, seafood is a big one. It's still meat, but it's much better for you, and can lead you towards other things. When you order some fish (or even a burger, if you want to make it a little easier at first) at the restaurant, don't get the fries on the side. Get the rice or the vegetable medley. Veggies look gross? Trust me, I know. Get a side of butter and/or liberal salt and pepper. Putting all that stuff on there isn't exactly "healthy", but you are trying to transition to a healthier lifestyle, and you're not gonna do it by just starting to eat steamed broccoli straight up. Eventually you'll get to the point where you can stand, or even like, the taste of other foods. But the best way to get there (for me at least) is to slather on the butter or cheese sauce or seasonings. Eventually, you'll need that stuff less.

If you like spaghetti, there is a cool thing you can do with spaghetti squash that I just discovered recently. Google for spaghetti squash recipes. If you cook it right, it comes out just like al dente angel hair pasta, but about a billion times better for you.

Sweet potatoes are another very-good-for-you-but-still-tasty veggie that you can try doing some things with.

You need to step out of your comfort zone. I know it's hard. I imagine I'll still struggle with it for years.

On preview, yeah! Dried fruit is great.
posted by mike9322 11 May | 10:19
I would start by making healthier versions of the food that you like to eat now. Take baby steps. Like, take a burger, for instance. Try putting a slice of avocado on it instead of cheese (California style), or use a multi-grain bun instead of a junk bun, or use ground turkey or a soy burger instead of the that. Or all of those things at once. It will still be delish. Add some tomatoes and lettuce and pickles and you have a juicy yummy salad on a bun.

For breakfast I like to make frozen fruit smoothies. Just cut up bananas and put them in a baggie with strawberries and pineapple chunks and blueberries...that kind of thing, and put that in the freezer. The fruit stays good for's awesome. You can make smoothies by putting the fruit in a blender with a cup of orange juice and ice, or you can even make it ice cream by adding as little liquid as possible - oj or vanilla soy milk or ice cream or something, and blend till it's creamy. Then put on some obnoxious music and cover your calves in mosquito bites and pretend you're eating ice cream at a carnival! I recommend Hoppity Jones by Twink...effing awesome carnival music.
posted by iconomy 11 May | 10:24
Oh and something that's just so good it's ridiculous - eggplant fries. Very carnival like ;)

If you take almost any veggie (broc, caulif, potato, mushrm, onion) and bread it and deep fry it and dip it in marinara sauce, you'll be like that cartoon dog that rubs his stomach and goes MMMMMMMMM and then floats slowly up to heaven...remember that dog? That'll be you. But eggplant fries are a step beyond. They're the best fried veggie in the world, nay, the universe. Maybe the solar system.

Is there anything beyond the solar system? The galaxy? Whatever the biggest thing is...that's what they're best at, or in. That place.

Deep fried vegetables are not supremely healthy, I'm not gonna lie. But they're damn tasty, and they ARE vegetables.
posted by iconomy 11 May | 10:29
OMG, eggplant fries. Where can I has!?
posted by danostuporstar 11 May | 10:37
You can has them at Stewart's Root Beer...they are beyond orgasmic! They give you a huge cup of them, with very good marinara on the side. I have to stop thinking about them or I may have to get in my car and drive the 90 miles to Stewart's in NJ ;)
posted by iconomy 11 May | 10:48
iconomy just made me hungry. Like that cartoon dog.

*pictures iconomy as animated chicken leg, drools*
posted by Elsa 11 May | 10:59
Whoa, that came out kinda pervy.

Go, me!
posted by Elsa 11 May | 11:00
*looks into opening a Stewart's franchise, offers iconomy contract as orgasmic spokesmodel*
posted by danostuporstar 11 May | 11:07
Maybe vegetable juice? Go to a juice bar and have them put in everything green along with carrots, lemon and garlic.
posted by brujita 11 May | 11:57
I would suggest to try beans. They're a healthier alternative to other starchy sides like rice and potatoes. Minestrone or bean soup can accompany your cheese sandwich. Black beans or vegetarian refried beans on a whole-wheat tortilla with a little Monterey Jack cheese is delicious. You could make a big pot of traditional chili or white bean chili and eat for a week. Homemade chili can be very healthy. You can control the fat by using lean meat, or no meat at all. Canned tomatoes are very healthy, and you can add all the veggies you want. I make a yummy turkey chili that is pretty traditional, but I add red bell pepper and carrots for extra healthiness. It's low in fat and everybody loves it. I can post the recipe if you're interested. It's very quick and easy to prepare.

My sister is picky, and I always encourage her to stick with the foods she likes but make healthier choices. I will eat just about any vegetable, she only likes broccoli and salad. It's better to eat the broccoli and salad with a meat you like than a frozen burrito, which she loves.

So, in your case cheese sandwiches made with whole wheat bread, healthy cereal with skim milk, and low-fat yogurt is a better alternative to greasy burgers. Go with what you like, don't fight it. I think you have to allow yourself food you enjoy at each meal. It doesn't need to be loaded with calories and fat, but it should be something you enjoy.

Eat an apple or an orange, or another fruit you like along with your breakfast cereal. Add a slice or two of tomato to grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.

It's all about making the best choice and packing in as many nutrients as you can. Don't buy anything white. Whole grains are your friend.

Last but not least, try to cook at home as much as possible. A hamburger prepared at home is usually going to be healthier than a fast food burger.
posted by LoriFLA 11 May | 12:42
Which Weird Way Would You Prefer To Slough Off This Mortal Coil? || Blatant blowing of one's own trumpet here.