Hi Everyone! This is Day 17 of my video series, 20 Days, 20 Quizzes, where I count down the 20 reasons why my book, All About You: A Personality Quiz Book will make a great gift for your loved ones this holiday season! This book is aimed at preteens and teenagers, but adults can also enjoy it. Click on the link in the description below to purchase!
The seventeenth quiz in this book is about what kind of eater you are. Are you someone who likes almost anything, or are you more selective about what you eat? There can be a lot of pressure to eat foods you don’t like and to not be so picky, so the purpose of this quiz is to validate selective eating. And I use the word “selective” because, while I don’t see anything wrong with being picky, the word “picky” can often have a negative connotation.
This quiz does two things that most other quizzes about selective eating don’t do. First, it validates selectiveness, whereas most picky eating quizzes assume that you don’t want to come out being picky. And second, it doesn’t try to define some foods as “normal” and other foods as “weird.” A lot of quizzes about food will ask questions about the specific foods you like to eat and try to determine how selective you are from your preferences. The trouble is that whether we consider a food to be basic or more adventurous is very culturally specific. What one person considers to be a new and interesting food might be a normal everyday food to someone else. This quiz doesn’t ask questions like, “Would you rather have a peanut butter sandwich or vegetable curry for lunch?” Rather, it asks questions like, if a friend invited you to stay for dinner, would you be thinking, “Yay, we get to spend more time together!” or would you be uncomfortable not knowing what was for dinner?
In the results, you’ll get suggestions on how to navigate the world if you’re a more selective eater. When it comes to social settings, I let you know that it’s okay to say no to foods you don’t want to eat. If you’re concerned that you might not like the food at a gathering, you could eat before you go so that you won’t be hungry, pack some healthy snacks, or you could bring a side dish to share, so you know there will be something you can eat.
If the reason you’re getting pressured to be less selective when eating at home is that it’s extra work to make something different for you, it might help to learn how to make some foods that you do like. If you’re involved in the process, you can have more control over the ingredients. And it’s helpful to learn some simple meals you can make for yourself in case you don’t like anything that the rest of the family is eating.
If you’re concerned that you might not be getting the nutrition you need because of selective eating, it’s good to try different healthy foods so you can find some that you like. There are a lot of different fruits and vegetables out there, and even if you have some that you don’t like, you’ll probably find others that you do like. A lot of foods taste different depending on if they’re cooked or raw, so it’s good to try foods prepared in different ways. And when you don’t like something, try to notice very specifically what you don’t like about it. Is it the carrot itself that you don’t like, or do you not like the sauce that it’s covered in? If you don’t like the texture, say, it’s too soft and mushy, that can be solved by cooking the vegetable for less time. If you keep experimenting, you should be able to find healthy foods that you enjoy.
The reason I wrote this quiz was because so many people I know have experienced pressure about food. And I wanted to help everyone feel better about themselves and not ashamed of being more selective.
When I was a kid, my friend’s mom had taken a group of us to a fast food place, and some of us had asked for our sandwiches to be plain. When one of my friends said that the food was taking a long time, her mom yelled at us that it was because we had ordered the sandwiches plain and they had to make them special. Her tone indicated that there was something wrong with us not liking the sandwiches the way they came. But luckily, I didn’t internalize that. I just thought to myself that there was no reason why the sandwiches had to come with pickles or mayo or ketchup. They could just as easily have plain sandwiches be the default, and if you wanted condiments, you had to specifically ask for them. It isn’t a problem with you if the default food happens to be what you don’t like.
When I went to India years ago, I loved the food. We were visiting family and ate dinner at someone’s house every night. A lot of my aunts kept asking me if I missed American food, and I said no, I’m gonna miss having Indian food all the time when I go back home. But what I really missed when I got home, more so than the food itself, was knowing that I could eat dinner at someone’s house and not have to worry about not liking the food. Because here, a lot of the foods I don’t like are everyday foods that people sort of expect you to like. So I don’t feel as comfortable eating meals at other people’s houses because I don’t know if I’ll like what they’re having, whereas in India, I didn’t have to worry about that because I liked most of the everyday foods.
That’s why it’s important to remember that selective eating really is culturally specific. It’s not your fault if you’re in a culture where you’re expected to like certain foods that you don’t like. You could just as easily be in a culture where your own preferences are more mainstream. There’s nothing wrong with being more selective. Your food preferences are your own.