How to Feed a Picky Eater: My Process

One of the biggest hurdles in life for me has been trying new foods. I know. That’s SHOCKING considering the name of my blog. But it really has affected my life on so many levels, not just what I decide to eat at each meal. Though I haven’t been diagnosed with ARFID, and I don’t believe I’m as extreme of a case as many ARFID diagnoses are, trying new foods is possibly one of my biggest fears and the hardest barrier to break through in my life.

Over time I developed a process or practice for trying new foods that my family has helped me figure out along the way. It’s called the bridge process that my mom learned about in a book she read when I was in high school. I’ve outlined the process below with the example of BBQ pulled chicken.

The Process

  1. Pick a food I LOVE, in this case BBQ pulled chicken. Then identify a food similar to BBQ pulled chicken – first food that comes to mind is BBQ pulled pork
  2. Find a recipe including the food – nachos with BBQ pulled chicken, cheese, BBQ sauce, and green onions. Then substitute the chicken for pork.
  3. Try a normal-sized bite of the nachos with a small* piece of pork on it.
  4. Repeat.

*You will see throughout my blog, as well as others, that it’s important to keep portion sizes small. If I was given a large pile of pulled pork with just a chip and maybe some cheese top, chances are I’d abandon the food tasting.

Repetition and persistence are key! Studies show that the more a child is exposed to a food and tries the food, the more likely they will like it.  I’ve adopted that general rule of thumb for myself. If I attempt the process outlined above and don’t like the food or, more commonly, am not sure about it, then I try it again later. Once I’ve repeated the same recipe enough, I venture into different recipes to see if I truly like the new food, or just the cheesy mess piled on top. I’ve done this with pork, avocados, tomatoes, peppers, and more.

But I don’t just eat the same recipe over and over again. I like to try out more than one recipe to see how many ways I could potentially like the food put in front of me. So I moved from pork nachos to sometimes eating Drew’s ribs, trying a piece of pork from my sister’s Chinese dish, and constantly ordering totchos.

Ok. Before I keep moving we need to talk totchos. This artery-clogging dish has changed Drew’s and my happy hours. These babies are a towering mess of cheese, BBQ sauce, and pulled pork stacked on fried tater tots. If you live in the Maple Grove area (or within 50 miles of it, seriously though) I highly recommend going to The Lookout Bar and Grill and getting a plate of your own to see just how amazing they are.

Totchos from the Lookout Bar and Grill

By consistently trying a new food in multiple ways, I can find out what I like about the food and what I don’t like. This helps me to not only get past a fear of a new food, but gives me more than one avenue to try others that relate to it.

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