Picky Eater? Expand Your Horizon (and Taste Buds)

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When it comes to food, we all have different tastes (no pun intended). Our preferences and biases are dictated by how our taste buds have been trained growing up. It depends on the types of food we frequently eat. In most cases, our taste buds adapt to what we put in our mouths, and eventually, they get comfortable with the specific tastes and flavors they’re fed with. In a manner of speaking, it establishes certain boundaries that welcome the familiar and reject the different and unknown.

Now, this would be a crying shame because there’s a lot of great-tasting food out there that we’re missing out on just because our palette has been preset to a small selection of the familiar flavors. Imagine being a traveler who fails to enjoy the gastronomical delights different cultures have to offer and only eats hotdogs and burgers wherever he or she goes. A shame, isn’t it

One of the simplest ways of enjoying life is delighting in different types of food and discovering new culinary treats. Perhaps some people can’t enjoy all types of food because of some medical condition. Others don’t have the opportunities to be exposed to different cultures. But these shouldn’t be excuses to not expand your taste buds. It’s not like taking precautions when drinking alcohol because you’re undergoing buvidal opioid treatment. It’s a lot less complicated than that.

You can improve your taste buds and expand them by doing only a few simple things.

Be open to new things

Being adventurous requires a certain level of openness to a lot of unfamiliar things, including food. Generally, picky eaters stick to what they’re used to because they’re not willing to try other things. They outright reject that which looks and smells different. In other instances, they probably reject different food types because of some trauma involving something that appears or smells similar.

The good thing about it is being adventurous is a skill that can be acquired over time. It just takes a lot of practice and getting used to it. So before you dismiss a new dish presented to you, keep an open mind about it and be willing to try it out.

Avoid forming any opinions on the food you haven’t tried

When it comes to trying out new dishes, there should at least be some sort of objectivity to the approach. Don’t kick it until you’ve tried it. A lot of times, people already formulate opinions without even tasting the food.

They base it on ingredients used and how they think these ingredients fuse. Some judge according to presentation and plating while others base it on the smell. That would be totally unfair because at best, what these people are doing is forming assumptions, opinions with no real basis or factual data.

Learn to let go of certain mindsets and biases. A lot of people don’t like jackfruit and durian for their strong pungent smell but once you get past it, they’re actually pretty good. Your eyes and nose can be deceiving sometimes.

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Learn how to prep food in new ways

Sometimes the key to expanding your taste buds lies in your kitchen. It involves how you approach food preparation.

For instance, one of the children’s most hated veggies is broccoli. We can’t blame them, though. Broccoli is an acquired taste even for most of us. We just know that it’s food for our bodies because it’s a vegetable but it doesn’t do anything for our taste buds.

However, since it is an acquired taste, some slight changes in the way it is prepared and presented can convince a picky eater to try it out.

Similarly, for other regular, non-exotic types of food, a little creativity and resourcefulness can go a long way.

Try integrating new dishes into your menu

Since we’re already on the subject of food preparation, here’s another useful tip: incorporate them into your existing menu. You don’t need to completely change every item on your menu. Do it incrementally. Try experimenting with your ingredients first. Add a little something as you take something out. Slowly work your way to introducing a new dish at least once a week.

Keep doing this until you get to the point that you have overhauled your menu. You’ll be surprised at how different the new one is compared to the older one. And not only that, you’ll be pleased to know that your taste in food has also grown and improved.

Learning to accommodate other tastes, textures, and flavors can make your life a little bit better. There’s a whole world of culinary concoctions and gastronomic treats that await you.

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