My younger son, Weston, had a fantastic teacher last year. Ms. Sehgal, his Pre-K teacher, was smart and patient, loving and firm. Yet there was one quality Ms. Sehgal possessed that outshined all the others and that was her love of cooking. In Pre-K they have “letter of the week” where the class focuses on the sound the letter makes and words starting with that letter each week. Weston’s class cooked something starting with each letter. There were pumpkin muffins for “P” week and quesadillas for Q week and suddenly Weston was trying all sorts of things he never had or would try before. At lunchtime during school, where a hot meal is offered daily, children were required to take one “polite bite” of the entrée of the day. Ms. Sehgal succeeded at doing what many parents attempt, that it encouraging children to sample new foods.

Many of us persuade or even bribe our kids to experiment nutritionally though we don’t necessarily do the same. At Foodtrainers, clients fill out paperwork before their initial session. One item asks for favorite foods (healthy and unhealthy) and also foods clients dislike or do not eat. I have always prided myself on creating realistic, individualized food plans for clients. I incorporate clients’ favorite foods or healthier versions of these foods and work around the disliked foods. Occasionally, if a client avoids an entire food group I will offer subtle suggestions. For the most part, I do not push or pursuade them to re-try foods. I then go home and chart my kids “new foods” and for every 10 they get a sticker. I wrote earlier last week about Health Hypocrites  and I’m starting to think this may be an example of that hypocrisy.

As adults, we sample new preparations of foods we like at restaurants or with recipes but feel we know the foods we do not like. For some it’s Brussels sprouts, for others sashimi. I’ve found there are common foods that appear on the dislike list such as cauliflower and mushrooms, mayonnaise and organ meats. A blog called Fit Sugar got my attention today with a post entitled “learn to love: broccoli rabe”. I liked this concept that we can learn to love a food we previously didn’t. I heard a chef, I can’t recall which one, once say that if you think you don’t like a food it’s because you haven’t had it prepared correctly. I think there’s a truth to that and also that we may like certain preparations of foods better. But how will we know if we don’t continue to taste test? Maybe these disliked foods deserve a second date.

I consider myself a pretty broad eater but do have a few foods avoid (or am scared to try). One is sardines, another happens to be broccoli rabe and the final food is organ meats. I purchased sardines and plan to try them this weekend; I am also open to giving broccoli rabe another go. As for organ meats, for many reasons, I’m not interested…not even in one polite bite!
What are some foods you dislike? Are you open to trying them again? Do you think we should learn to love certain foods?

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