Why do some people find a food distasteful while another person loves it? What makes a picky eater dislike certain foods? Understanding what taste buds are and how they work can help you deal with picky eaters in your own family.
Taste buds are important to life. They enable us to distinguish between the 5 known elements of taste – salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami. They also help us distinguish healthy from harmful foods.
Here are 3 things you might not know about taste buds:
Not everyone has the same number of taste buds. On average, the human tongue has between 2,000 and 10,000 taste buds. Now, that’s a big range, and that range is part of the reason that some people are more sensitive to flavors than other people. People who have more taste buds may not like vegetables as much because they taste bitterness more intensely. Fixing vegetables that have less intense flavors like green beans, peas or cauliflower can help.
Flavor preferences aren’t set in stone, but they do require effort to change. The good news is that you can “train” your taste buds to enjoy new foods. Often, watching what other people eat can help our brain learn what foods are “good.” Also, you can help a picky eater learn to enjoy certain foods, by pairing them with some sugar or fat. These are “pleasing” to your brain. For example, serve broccoli with a bit of melted cheese, or roast it to bring out the natural sugars.
Taste buds are designed to keep us alive. Taste buds serve an important function. They tell our brain whether or not it is ok to swallow what’s in our mouth. Humans are born loving sweets and hating bitters. This is because natural sugar is fuel for the body while bitter things in nature are often poison. In days gone by, this was an important survival instinct. Today, with most food purchased through grocery stores or restaurants, this capability isn’t as important. Roasting veggies can help bring out the natural sugars, which is appealing to the brain.
As people mature and develop their own eating habits, these 3 factors can impact how receptive they are to new and different foods. Taking these into account will help you understand some picky eaters.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
You may also want to read: What We Can Learn From the French, Making Meals Fun Can Help, You Have More Influence Than You Think