Should I force myself to eat foods that I don’t like just because they are healthy?

I was talking to someone recently who said “I’ve been trying to force myself to eat kale but I really don’t like it”.

There are a few things to consider here but in general I would tell a client not to eat something they “hate”. This is because the digestion process actually starts with thinking about food. The stomach acid needed for breaking down food and absorbing its nutrients is secreted at the mere thought of food, then the sight and smell of food increases this further and releases a hormone called gastrin, which supports the movement of food down the digestive tract. If we are having horrible thoughts about the food we are about to eat these processes could be compromised.

That said, I am not suggesting that we don’t try foods. Ingredients can taste very different from one dish to another based on the recipe; how it was cooked and with what, how it was produced, as well as who made it. There is also a theory that if you try a food a certain number of times you will learn to like it. But if you are the one cooking the food, and you are the one already turning your nose up at it, choose a food with similar properties that you can enjoy eating, or see if anyone you know loves it and will make it their way for you. There is nothing better than sharing a delicious meal with friends and family and infecting everyone with your love for that ingredient.

With children it can be a whole other ball game and you will find that they chop and change between liking and disliking certain foods from one day to the next. I made what I thought were all my child’s favourite foods for his first birthday meal, only for him to turn around and say I don’t like it! It is important to continue to offer infants foods even if they have said that they don’t like them previously.