Hello. Real Dad Nutrition here with a guest post. Some of you may remember that I, like Sally, am a recovering picky eater. Perhaps your spouse or partner still struggles to maintain an open mind and a willingness to try new foods. To give you some hope, Sally has volun-told me to share with you the…
10 Foods I Learned To Like
(but would have politely refused at 23–an age that’s only significant because it’s when Sally and I started dating)
Sally goaded me into choking down a single leaf of lettuce drenched in dressing when I was 24 years old. It felt like eating paper. The next time, it was two leaves. Later, a tiny bowl. Patiently (like KGB agent) she built up my tolerance until I could handle an adult-sized portion. Two decades later – look at me, ordering a restaurant salad, all by myself. Even spinach. EVEN KALE.
Eating simple “starter” salads inevitably led to trickier territory: the fixins. While my all-time favorite fixin remains the unglamorous (and unhealthy) crouton, my overall lettuce-to-healthy-fixins ratio fluctuates to occasionally include a handful of chopped peppers, onions, radishes, carrots, maybe a cucumber slice or two. Also, my ongoing quest to concoct the perfect chili has taught me some valuable lessons about peppers. Like wash your hands after you handle a jalapeno.
At 23, I would have been hard-pressed to even glance at a bowl of guacamole, let alone eat it. Now Sally has to take the bowl away from me or I’ll eat the whole thing and ruin my appetite before dinner and then the boys are bummed because I ate all the guac (here’s the recipe we make).
This one didn’t happen until I had a kid old enough to notice that daddy wasn’t being served all the same food he was. Once again, I had to start small and gradually build up a tolerance.
As a child, I began each meal by carefully inspecting, separating, and banishing any green items from my plate. But now, give me a bowl of buttered peas? Okay, I admit I will not want to eat them (though could, if pressed). But throw those same peas into a casserole or Indian dish, and I will eat them without complaint.
There’s been notable, albeit mixed, progress on the legume front. I will scarf down bean-laden burritos, handfuls of edamame, and every last red kidney bean in a bowl of chili. But I still can’t handle baked beans. And lima beans take me back to an infamous, unsuccessful, childhood standoff I had with my parents over a single spoonful of them. I would fight that same fight today!
Sort of. I’ll eat them if presented in the form of crispy roasted chips, but I still struggle with a full-on sprout (I vow to continue to try).
Exotic Grains (couscous, quinoa, etc.):
Alternatives to white rice hadn’t yet crossed my mind or mouth at 23. Even though I, along with many American kids, grew up in a white-bread world, my personal transition to whole grains wasn’t difficult.
Growing up in a semi-rural area, I’d eat wild raspberries and blackberries that I stumbled on in the woods, but somehow they became invisible indoors. Now, you may not know this, but Sally is an addict. Her addiction is to blueberries and strawberries and sadly she has lured me over the years into her sordid (and sometimes seeded) world of mixed berries.
I cautiously tried a nibble or two in college, disappointed that it didn’t taste more like peanut butter. Now, I can eat it by the shovelful.