We’ve all heard about those people who come with a huge list of foods they cannot possibly eat. Or worse still, those who can only eat from a restrictive list of very specific foods – and the acceptable foods always seem to be things like pizza or chicken nuggets, rather than green vegetables.
So when you know a paleo approach will benefit the picky-eater’s health, how can you help them break through their fussiness, to give paleo a fair go?
Firstly, start off with a list of what your picky eater will and won’t eat (at the moment).
Why are they a picky eater?
Firstly, you need to understand why they’re a picky eater. Are they just a creature of habits, deeply stuck in their ways? Have they been eating the same restricted foods since childhood? If this is the case, could these familiar foods be somehow comforting to the picky eater? Or perhaps the reality is your picky eater is addicted to processed foods?
If they do lean heavily towards these foods, it’s best to ease them into paleo slowly. They like pizza – so make them a paleo pizza. Pasta addict – give them some pasta alternatives. Cake fan – wean them off slowly with some paleo baked treats.
What if they genuinely don’t like lots of foods?
If they absolutely hate the taste of lots of paleo-friendly foods, have they actually tried them recently? Is a memory of nasty Brussel Sprouts from school-days putting them off all green vegetables? Try re-exposing them to these foods again, if they’re willing to try them several times, they may find their tastes change. If this doesn’t work, how about hiding the veggies in a sauce, smoothie, or other dish and starting from there? Spinach is a great vegetable to add to dishes, as it vastly reduces in volume once it’s cooked, so could be barely noticeable in a curry.
Another possibility is that your picky eater has sensory issues – that is they are bothered by the texture and flavour of the foods they eat. Find out what is acceptable to them, and see if it can be replicated. If they like a crunchy texture, perhaps a dehydrator will be key.
Have you helped a formerly picky eater expand their food horizons? How did you do it, do share, in the comments below.