Trying new foods never seemed that important or intentional to me. I’m not shy about trying new foods. I’m very crafty when it comes to making something out of not-much-of-anything leftovers. But since becoming sensitive to so many foods, trying new foods has taken on a new meaning – and has changed my life.
Exactly what do I mean by trying new foods?
Trying new foods has become a necessity for me – so I can find replacements for some of my favorites and new ways of getting healthier fats into my rotation. It has meant researching, shopping for and cooking foods I’ve never heard of. It’s been lots of trial and error. And it has involved eating finished products I wasn’t crazy about. But I knew they were good for me and in some way, they satisfied a craving (saltiness, crunch or about-to-become-a-bitch hunger pain).
As I reference in my book, Digested – eating healthier made easier 3 ways, researchers say it can take 10-12 times of seeing a food before a child will try it. Then add however many times your child must try a food before liking it! I think we are all kids at heart when it comes to eating, so the only edge we have as grown-ups is possibly more wisdom about the foods we’re eating!
What are some of these healthier, new foods I rave about?
In the past few years, my over-reactive immune system has prodded me to try new foods, which are quickly becoming staples in my home.
Sweet potatoes. Call me stubborn. Or picky. It only took me 30+ years and many samplings to like them. Now I eat them 4-5 times a week, usually sliced and grilled for dinner, but also with eggs or sausage for breakfast. Grilled is my favorite way, because they aren’t too soft or sweet. Love sweet potato chips, but not the healthiest! And I have acquired a taste for eating them baked or mashed now, too.
Nut butters. Now that I know how bad peanuts can be for you, I buy only organic peanut butter and more often use organic almond butter and sunflower butter (a seed butter) to make healthier “PB&Js” for the kids. Try cashew butter, walnut butter or tahini (sesame) paste. They make fantastic spreads and dips. Plus, they can be used to make grain-free and even paleo cookies and pancakes!
Kohlrabi. Available in spring and fall, kohlrabi leaves replace bread at lunchtime. The bulbs can be peeled, chopped and roasted, sautéed or more, and make a nice substitute for starchy white potatoes. Try them for breakfast “potatoes”, “potato” pancakes and soup!
Cauliflower. True, it’s not really new. But I’ve typically eaten it raw, which is OK, or cooked and smothered in brown butter, which is tasty but not so good for you. After finally investing in a good food processor and immersion blender, I’ve been experimenting with cauliflower mash (instead of mashed potatoes) and cauliflower bacon soup, which was delicious and heartier than broth soups. Next, I have to try cauliflower rice!
Grain-free flours. Take away the things you love (like pizza, Mexican food, desserts) and you will find a way to get them back! Thanks to all the bloggers who are way ahead of me in this paleo-like lifestyle, I have been using flour from coconut, tapioca, almonds, sesame seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds to satisfy my cravings with healthier versions of tortilla chips, tortilla shells, pizza crusts, cookies and carrot cake (this was nut-free too)!
Today, with stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Lucky’s Market, trying new foods has never been easier. Using the internet, we can find recipes with the new food we want to try. And we can find substitutes for other ingredients if we are missing one when innovation strikes! We have no excuses.
Trying new foods has helped me add vegetables and healthy fats to my diet. It has allowed me to eat my favorites in a new way. It’s helped me expand the variety of foods in my family’s diet. And it’s made cooking and baking more adventurous again! It’s changed my life and it can change yours.
Here are a few of my new (to me), favorite recipes:
*This blog is intended for use as a source of information and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice.