Insider’s Viewpoint: How Dietitians Can Help Turn Picky Eaters into Veggie-Lovers
Have you ever noticed that advertisements connected with healthy eating almost always include a photo of a raw fruit or veggie? While we know that raw fruits and veggies are superfoods in their own right, the honest truth is that for many of us, raw produce just doesn’t win the ‘taste war’ when stacked up against other foods we find in our environment, most of which are high fat, high calorie, and high sodium. It’s also common knowledge that dietitians are very pro-vegetable and advocate choosing fruits and veggies often. But what may surprise you is that many dietitians, especially those of us who have the privilege of working in the retail setting, are just as passionate about good taste as we are about the super nutrients found in fruits and veggies. So read on to learn about how dietitians can make veggie-lovers out of the pickiest palates.
3 Ways Dietitians Can Help You Eat More Veggies
- Maybe you’re a supertaster. The way we taste foods is actually tied to our genetic profile, and a dietitian can help you identify if you are what is referred to as a “supertaster.” These individuals are more sensitive to bitter tastes and tend to stay away from certain vegetables. There are simple tests that allow a dietitian to help identify your taste sensitivity to foods high in certain bitter compounds. S/he can then help guide you towards veggie options that will be much more pleasing to your individual palate, as well as some culinary techniques that can help to neutralize bitterness.
- Play a trick on yourself. There’s nothing wrong with playing a little trick on your taste buds. There are many fruits and vegetables that blend seamlessly into flavorful, comforting dishes. One example is classic tacos – mashed kidney beans can add flavor and texture to the meat base, without any negative impact on flavor. A dietitian can take your favorite recipes, even the higher-calorie, higher-fat comfort foods, and help determine ways to increase the veggies without decreasing the flavor.
- All forms fit. There’s no shortage of advice regarding which forms of fruits and vegetables are the best. One headline may say frozen veggies are ok, while another may not. It can be confusing! The good news is that all forms of veggies – fresh, dried, canned, and frozen – provide excellent nutrition and are a wonderful choice for any meal occasion. A dietitian can help you make the most of this principle to benefit your wallet, your health, and your palate!
Kroger dietitians offer in-store nutrition services in the following areas: Cincinnati, OH, Dayton, OH, Nashville, TN, and Columbus OH. Visit The Little Clinic website to get connected.
Allison Kuhn, MS, RDN, LD
Director of Retail Nutrition Solutions for The Kroger Co.