How this picky eater fell in love with cooking | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

How this picky eater fell in love with cooking
How this picky eater fell in love with cooking

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve struggled with picky eating. It wasn’t as simple as refusing to eat green vegetables, though I admittedly didn’t touch those; I only had about 10 safe foods that I ate without struggle. My menu included fried chicken, plain white rice and cheese pizza. Needless to say, this caused countless problems, from not eating anything at restaurants to having fast food every day for lunch.

I spent years eating the same few foods every single meal, reluctant to try anything out of my comfort zone. My parents even had to bring me special food during birthday parties, just in case they didn’t have what I wanted. Otherwise, I just wouldn’t eat and would wait until after the event to get some chicken nuggets and fries.

Awkward social situations weren’t the only problems I dealt with. Due to the vast amounts of fried and processed food I consumed regularly, I also became overweight. When I got older, this created quite a few body image issues. I didn’t like how my body looked, but how do you lose weight eating Jollibee every day? Paired with a lack of exercise, my weight became my biggest insecurity.

Penne alla vodka

Everything changed, however, when I stumbled upon a viral recipe for Gigi Hadid’s penne alla vodka earlier this year. After seeing it all over Instagram, I asked my Tita, who loves cooking, if she could help me make it. As I poured the ingredients into a pan, I learned that cooking wasn’t as hard as I thought. Everything worked together in perfect harmony, and I ended up with a dish that my family absolutely loved.

From there, I tried out even more recipes, such as macaroni and cheese and banana oatmeal pancakes. With every new recipe I tried and liked, my confidence in my cooking abilities grew. I fell in love with the sound of the pan sizzling and popping, stirring together different ingredients, and making a delicious meal for myself and others.

In addition, cooking my own food allowed me to change a recipe to taste exactly the way I wanted. It gave me a sense of control over what I ate, and I was more inclined to taste things when I contributed to the process.

One day, I tried adding carrots, zucchini and bell peppers to my macaroni and cheese. I cut them up into smaller pieces to make it easier for me to try and eat. By mixing the familiar flavor of cheesy pasta with unfamiliar vegetables, I came up with a nutritious yet delicious dish. This made the biggest difference.

Throughout the next few weeks, I experimented with even more dishes, incorporating and trying new fruits and vegetables. Slowly but surely, sugary cereal turned into smoothie bowls, instant noodles became vegetable pasta, and fried chicken became baked chicken vegetable wraps. I was finally on the road to eating nutritious food, after a decade of fried food. Add in my newfound love for Pilates and yoga, and I had never felt healthier.

Now, I’m happy to say that my relationship with food has changed. I want to try new things when I’m at restaurants with my family, look up new recipes I can attempt to make and binge-watch cooking videos on YouTube. This isn’t to say that I don’t eat pizza or fried chicken anymore; they’ve simply become a part of a more balanced diet, instead of my one food source.

If you had told me a year ago that I would fall in love with cooking, and it would help me try foods I had avoided for a decade, I would have laughed. I am so grateful to say that cooking is now one of my favorite hobbies, and it has definitely changed my life for the better. —CONTRIBUTED 

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