Cooking Tips to Help Picky Eaters Learn to Love Vegetables

New over on Associated Content:

When you hear vegetables, do you think "Yuck!"?

Do you have a child (or, heaven forbid, spouse) whose veggies always seem to end up in the dog's dish?

Do you put white potatoes next to your chicken and biscuits and call it dinner?

Then these tips are for you. Welcome to the wonderful world of vegetables.

Food neophobia, or the fear of new foods, shouldn't be dismissed as mere pickiness. Studies suggest the condition may be genetic, an impulse born into children to help them survive by being unwilling to try that pretty but poisonous berry growing on the random bush. Kids who turn up their noses at new foods aren't doing so just to annoy you; they're responding to primal instincts.

Nevertheless, you shouldn't resign yourself to a couple decades of hot dogs and chicken fingers. We need to teach kids (and adults who never outgrew childhood tastes) to enjoy nutritious foods to set them on the healthy path in life. It takes persistence and patience, but you can persuade a person to try new foods. Just remember, it can take many attempts before a hesitant bite turns to a favorite treat. Keep at it!

Go check it out! I'd appreciate it.

I published two articles recently on ways to make vegetables more appealing. It's hard for me to recall now what it was like to recoil at the sight of almost all veggies on my plate, but I do remember perfectly well all the tricks I played on myself to get over my vegetable (and other food) fears.

Some of my suggestions may seem counterintuitive (as in, what's the point of getting someone to eat a healthy veggie if it's prepared so unhealthily?), but the point is to offer the medicine with a spoonful of sugar the first few times to make it less scary. Once you know you can eat deep-fried green beans without gagging, you'll be more likely to give them a chance plain.

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