How to make the most of trying new foods
One of the best steps you can take to improve your overall health and wellness? Try new foods! A limited diet makes it more difficult to get the full range of nutrition needed for optimum health. Lisa Money, RDN, offered some tips on trying new foods, even for picky eaters.
Limiting your variety of foods is no good
“There are many fad diets out there that suggest severely limiting what types of food you eat, but evidence shows eating a very limited diet can cause nutritional deficiencies or even lead to increased risk of disease,” said Money.
Very limited diets can put stress on your body. For example, foods high in sugar or fat are associated with diabetes and heart disease. Avoiding foods like fruits or vegetables can potentially raise your risk for certain cancers, or simply cause nutritional deficiencies that can lead to weakness, fatigue or a change in how food tastes, making new foods even less appealing.
Severely limited diets may also make it difficult for you to eat around other people, leading to missed opportunities to enjoy new foods or just to socialize with the people you love without worrying over whether what you’re eating is “right.”
Take your time with new foods to avoid being overwhelmed
“When trying a new food, slow down and give yourself time to really explore it,” said Money. “Think about it in neutral terms, not in good or bad. Is it chewy, salty, sweet? Crunchy? Is there a flavor that you think would go well with it?”
Money offered five steps for trying new foods:
- Use your eyes! Look it over and notice the color, size, shape and how it looks on the plate with other food.
- How does it feel to touch, or when you take a bite?
- Does it smell strong or bitter? Mild and sweet?
- What is the taste like? Is it similar to any other foods you have eaten?
- What is the food’s texture? Some foods may be chewy and soft, while others are crunchy.
“Research has shown that it takes trying a food sometimes ten times or more to become fully comfortable with it, so make sure you try something new more than once before deciding whether or not you like it,” said Money. “Also consider trying new ways of preparing or seasoning a new food that you’re not sure about. Sometimes the seasoning can make all the difference!”
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