Retrain Your Taste Buds

Oh, to have been born loving broccoli instead of chocolate! Truth is, your DNA alone doesn’t dictate what you like (and don’t like).

January/February 2007

By Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., R.D.

Retrain Your Taste Buds

Even after we eloped four months later and began eating most meals together, I had no motives to make over Jack’s diet. I kept eating the foods I preferred: whole grains, vegetables and fruits (and chocolate). For a time, Jack stuck to his familiar favorites. At home, we prepared separate meals and ate them together. When we dined out, we chose restaurants that met both our needs (i.e., enchiladas for Jack; black bean soup and a salad for me). I always offered Jack tastes of whatever I was eating. Little by little, he started exploring new foods. He tasted a bite of my veggie (soy) burger, said it wasn’t bad, and eventually, he tried a whole one. Later, when he learned that edamame was soy, too, he gave it a go—and liked it. Eventually, he moved on to tofu, which now, stir-fried with vegetables, is one of his staple lunches.

Soon Jack was showing an interest in eating well and consciously starting to shift his diet in healthier directions. He replaced whole milk with 2 percent and then skim; eventually, we were sharing cartons of soymilk. Noticeable physical improvements—increased energy, improved digestion and a gradually shrinking belly—reinforced Jack’s efforts. Over two years, he shed 55 pounds—simply by retraining himself to like healthier foods. He’s kept the weight off for four years.

Next: Jack's Eating Evolution »

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