Awhile back I was at the grocery store, perusing the egg aisle, when I heard the woman next to me mutter, frustrated, “I just want normal white eggs.” I couldn’t help but think to myself, “eggs are normally brown too” but I also sympathized with her frustration. At one point in my life, I remember thinking very clearly to myself that brown eggs were gross and unnatural and I wanted nothing to do with them.

I, like many people, grew up eating white eggs. They were what I knew and normal until one day I decided to switch to organic, and since the organic eggs in my local grocery store just happened to be brown, brown became my new normal.

It is like this for most of us. Our food preferences come from our broader culture and also our unique childhoods and backgrounds. There are endless examples of foods enjoyed in other countries or cultures that are not typically included in the American diet (in fact, the SAD, or Standard American Diet, doesn’t include much real food at all, but that is a post for a different day).

Those of us wanting to make healthier food selections, especially if we were raised on a fairly “normal” American diet, just might find that we need to be open to trying new foods and expanding our palates.

“Gross” foods from my past that I’ve come to enjoy and eat regularly over the years include spinach, kale, peaches, pears, brussel sprouts, baked (not fried) fish, tomatoes, oranges, asparagus, and more.

But my most recent food exploration? Crickets.

I have to say, it wasn’t really the excitement of eating crickets that drew me to trying my first Exo cricket protein bar last week. Rather, the organic, USA raised crickets in this real food bar are a complete (and more importantly sustainable) source of protein. As stated on the Exo website, “it is estimated that crickets are 20x more efficient to raise for protein than cattle” (my current favorite source of protein). If eating crickets is good for the planet and good for me, I might as well try it and see if I like it, right?

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Am I suggesting that everyone ought to get their protein exclusively from crickets? No. But I am saying that letting go of our biases and preconceive notions, and trying new foods, unusual foods, and foods that we may have previously thought of as “gross” can often times open new windows for our health and the health of our planet. Plus, we might just find that they are delicious!

To branch out your food choices and palate, incorporate one or all of these simple tricks:

  1. purchase a new, unfamiliar food (like a piece of produce, new type of meat/fish, or an intriguing grain, nut, or seed you’ve been curious about)
  2. find a recipe you haven’t tried before and make it
  3. sign up for a CSA (find one here) and commit to using everything that comes in your basket
  4. browse the farmers market for samples of foods you haven’t tried before

Would you try a cricket bar? Or are there other new foods that you have tried or want to try? Please feel free to share in the comments below . . . you never know, you just might inspire someone else’s new favorite food!

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