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Dietitian's Dish: Embrace your inner child with food

By Victoria Advocate
Sept. 27, 2011 at 4:27 a.m.

Jami Martin

By Jami Martin, registered dietitian

Are you ever amazed, surprised or impressed at what kids will try or ask for when it comes to new experiences? As adults, we take life too seriously, or seem to be stuck in a rut and have lost our inner child to try new things, including our food choices. We each still have an inner child that is very eager to explore. Why not seek adventure with our taste buds?

Be open minded to try new foods. Remember, trying does not have to be a plate full, but rather a bite. Gatherings or parties that include food or potlucks may be great opportunities to try and prepare new foods.

Be flexible to change. It can take 15-20 times of being introduced to a new flavor to take a liking to it. This may be why we say some foods are an acquired taste. Try not to disregard foods so quickly, but possibly try the same new food in a different food combination.

Explore new cultural food items or recipes. Or simply include a new variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, legumes, lean meats and poultry in your meals.

Here are a few examples to get started:

Choose produce in season. In October, apples, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squash and pumpkin are in season in Texas and may be more frugal purchases.

Add new and different whole grains. Barley, buckwheat, or quinoa prepared as a side and an alternative to rice or pasta. Include dried beans, such as kidney, pinto, or cannellini beans, in casseroles or chili.

Grow an herb garden to season food without added sodium. A fall herb garden in South Texas may include the following: bay, cilantro, dill, garlic chives, lemon balm, lemon verbena, Mexican mint marigold or mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, fennel and Italian parsley.

Embrace your inner child as it pertains to your eating plan. It will increase opportunities for variety and decrease the feeling of restriction and boredom when you are making dietary lifestyle changes. Build a library of recipes full of color, texture and palatability while keeping food and meal time a positive life experience.

Jami Martin is a registered and licensed dietitian. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.

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