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DIET TIPS FOR PICKY EATERS

PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION |

To lose weight the healthy way, you need to start eating more low-calorie, nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables.

But what happens if you're a picky eater and really don't like the taste of fruits and vegetables?

I am here to assure you that with time and by following the right strategies, you can start embracing (and even enjoying!) these healthier, good-for-you foods.

Here are some tips to guide you:

1. Pair flavors. You may be surprised to learn that there is a technique called flavor-flavor learning that helps picky eaters eat healthier foods. Basically, you are instructed to pair an undesirable food with a flavor you enjoy. For example, someone who likes peanut butter could pair a peanut sauce with a vegetable like broccoli or cauliflower. Or if you're a chocolate lover but aren't crazy about fruit, why not add some fresh raspberries to a fat free chocolate pudding cup? This strategy works with other foods as well, like adding barbecue sauce to a healthy fish like salmon. Before you know it, you will have widened the variety of foods you eat and you'll be eating healthier at the same time.

2. Keep trying. If you try a new fruit or vegetable and decide you don't like it, you may be tempted to never try it again. Instead, you should learn from a study that showed that children had to be given a vegetable 14 times before deciding they liked it and would eat more of it. Repeating your exposure to different foods (especially cooked in different ways) can help you overcome your picky eating tendencies. Try it again you just may like it!

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3. Sneak it in. Another useful strategy is to sneak vegetables into soups, casseroles, chili dishes and even your sandwiches. You can even find good-tasting recipes for zucchini breads, eggplant lasagnas or carrot muffins. Vegetable or bean soups are a great way to eat more vegetables and fill up on broth-based soup at the same time. Another option is to hide the vegetables even further by grinding them in a food processor and then adding them back into the soup.

4. Learn from dining out. It's important to pay attention to the times you end up eating more fruits and vegetables when dining out. It's easy to copy some of the things that you enjoy as long as you're not adding cream or heavy cheese sauces to your vegetables or deep-frying them. At home you can decorate your family's dinner plates with colorful slices of apples, oranges or pineapple. You can also learn to roast vegetables to bring out their sweet flavors, or sprinkle vegetables with toasted pine nuts or shredded parmesan cheese. Just a little goes a long way to add flavor and encourage you to eat your veggies.

I hope these four tips will help you eat more healthfully and better manage your weight.

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