The other day I was wandering through the produce section when I encountered a display of brussel sprouts. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of brussel sprouts? For me, it’s my childhood association of them being a disgusting vegetable that must only be consumed as punishment. But then I realized, when was the last time I actually tried brussel sprouts? Never.

Sprouts or not, I think most of us have certain foods that we stay away from, simply because we have a preconceived notion that we don’t like them. But how do we know we don’t like something unless we give it a chance? As I stared at the brussel sprouts and pondered this, they started to look pretty enticing: miniature, bite-sized cabbages just waiting to be devoured.

I only bought a few (this is the beauty of shopping in bulk), and ended up roasting them in garlic and olive oil (though probably not for long enough). Did they turn out perfectly? No, not really. Am I glad I tried the sprouts? Absolutely!

brussel sprouts collage

Why am I rambling about brussel sprouts you ask? I feel that it is important to try new things, foods included of course! There is such a great variety of real, whole foods available, and sometimes we get stuck in a rut or tripped up by our usual preferences, so that we don’t try new foods. But exploring new foods has many benefits:

  • Enhanced nutrition. It is essential to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to fully benefit from the many different vitamins and antioxidants they offer. Try to eat a rainbow of colors in produce to reap the most benefits.
  • Find new favorites and avoid boredom. I recently became obsessed with peaches. But up until a few weeks ago I never gave peaches a second glance. They are fuzzy and I remember not liking that texture when I was younger. But now I can’t get enough!  I’ve discovered a new favorite and peaches add some nice variety to my snacks.
  • Gain “clean food confidence.” Eating real food takes a little more finesse than simply throwing a t.v. dinner in the microwave. Real food is ingredients, which means sometimes it takes a little preparation. Experimenting with new, unfamiliar food options can boost one’s confidence in being able find and prepare tasty and healthy options.
  • Bragging rights. Okay, maybe I’m alone in this, but sometimes it’s fun to be able to say you tried something just for the heck of it. When I was traveling in Belize with my sister several years ago, we had the opportunity to eat a termite. I didn’t, but she did, and I wish I had just so I could say I did it! I’m not saying you have to be that exotic with your new food choices, but you get the idea.

Next time you’re in the grocery store, pick up a food you haven’t tried in a while, or ever! It doesn’t have to be produce: any real, whole food will do. You just might love it!

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