There’s no doubt about it–kids are picky eaters.
According to Kids Eat Right, kids “are born with an instinctive desire for sweet and salty foods, and an instinctive aversion to sour and bitter tastes,” which would explain why our food preferences consisted of powdered donuts and popsicles when we were young.
However, as we get older and our taste buds begin to diminish (sob!), our inclination toward sweet and salty foods expands to include the bitter, sour foods we avoided before.
In the article “FYI: Why Do Kids Hate Brussels Sprouts,” Popular Science explores this alternation over time as a result of adults realizing “even though something tastes bitter or sour, it won’t kill us, and we learn to enjoy it,” considering “sweetness typically indicates that something is safe to eat” for children.
But as age brings riskiness in our food choices (as well as in our personal choices), we begin to love the food we hated as children, thus becoming the people we never thought we’d be–adults.
Here’s a list of five foods you hate as a kid, but learn to love as an adult:
I cringe to think of all the times I pushed those slices of avocado to the side of my plate, wasting God’s miracle fruit every time my mom made Mexican food or tossed it in a salad. These days, avocado is an essential component of my daily diet. I feel incomplete without it in at least one of my meals, and for good reason. It’s not only delicious, but it’s one of the healthiest fruits out there.
However, in a study conducted by Mail Online, the website found avocado at the top the “food hate list” of children. In fact, experts found “out of 100 common foods, the avocado rated the lowest, being one of only 10 which scored minus marks.”
“I suspect that avocado comes out as the most hated food more because of its unusual texture, rather than the taste,” said Dr. Wendy Doyle, of the British Dietetic Association.
Though I understand the aversion (because let’s be real, we all went through it too), it’s a difficult pill to swallow now thinking of all those trashcans full of untouched avocado.
But I guess that means more avocados for us, and an excuse to shamelessly trash-dig–at least for me.
2. Brussels sprouts
As a kid, I thought they smelled and tasted like baby diapers. Each trip to the kitchen while my mom boiled them was shortly followed by a plug of the nose and dash for the upstairs. You think I’m kidding. I wish I was.
Now as an adult, I love them. I can’t get enough of them. There are so many delicious ways to make Brussels sprouts, though my favorite way is to boil them (yes, I love and do the exact thing my mom did that I hated as a child).
But while I’m obsessed with them now, I can see why I despised Brussels sprouts so much as a kid. In the blunt words of Popular Science, kids hate the vegetable “because Brussels sprouts are bitter, and kids generally don’t like bitter tastes.”
Though I’m “bitter” (sorry not sorry for the bad taste bud joke) I didn’t appreciate these scrumptious balls of Brussels earlier, I’m glad they’re one of my favorite veggies nowadays.
After all, parents apparently shouldn’t bother pulling them off the produce shelf. It looks like there’s more for me anyway. I’d like to believe I’m doing families a favor.
3. Dark chocolate
The name alone sends my taste buds into a frenzy, while the craving creates actual chaos. Chocolate has that effect on me, and I’m not the only one. It’s one of those foods you hate to love and love to love all at once.
When I was growing up, I was lucky to find chocolate in my pantry. These days, my pantry is filled with it. But back then you wouldn’t have caught my hand in the dark chocolate chip cookie jar. It was all about the milk chocolate. Today, it’s all about the dark chocolate. I like the bitterness of the cocoa whereas before I compared the taste to tree bark.
But I have to admit, I had to train myself to like dark chocolate. It’s essentially as healthy as tree bark, so making the switch was a move on my healthy-diet-minded part. Now though, I prefer it to its milk-based counterpart.
According to the io9 article “The psychology of hating food (and how we learn to love it),” studies concluded “our food preferences are learned, though we have a predisposition to like certain tastes.” And for most adults, like myself, we’ve trained ourselves to cross over to the “dark side” (another shameless taste bud joke).
But thank goodness I, and many others, did. I mean, why feel more guilty about eating the best thing to happen to this world when we could enjoy it semi-less-guilt-free?
You tell me, kids.
4. Strong cheeses
Cheddar…was manageable as a child. Mozzarella string cheese, even better. But Gouda? Brie? Havarti? Yuck. Those were automatically placed in the “untouchable” section of my refrigerator.
In looking back at my strict aversion to these strong cheeses, I can see why I loathed them as a kid. It all had to do with their smell.
Wonderopolis expanded on this idea of how smell plays an important role in our taste bud development saying, “A food that has a strong smell might be unattractive to children who might otherwise not mind its taste alone.”
Personally, I’ve always been a little more cautious toward cheese since I never really liked it when I was growing up. Nowadays, I’m picky about my cheese, but express a love for feta, ricotta, parmesan, and sharp cheddar that I never would have previously.
When I was a kid though, the smell of these cheeses made me sick. I hated them simply because of their smell. Considering my sense of smell as an adult has become less sensitive, these cheeses have become more tolerable as well.
So while kids may hate strong cheeses, it’s good to know it doesn’t necessarily have to do with their flavor. Now, to conquer blue cheese…though the smell of it still makes me sick.
To be fair, coffee and tea are usually considered adult drinks. Most adults consume either drink each morning to caffeinate themselves for the long day ahead of them and believe me, the little boost of caffeine definitely helps (at least in my opinion).
Growing up though, I rarely had the opportunity to drink coffee. My mom believed it to be unnecessary for children–understandably so, despite studies showing its health benefits.
However, the times she did let me take a sip from her coffee mug were usually a regretful decision. The bitter taste, the strong scent, and the overall flavor were too overwhelming to even swallow. I’d often have to spit it out.
But I’m biased. My mom made Folgers microwaveable coffee, without cream or sugar. Had the coffee been masked with heaps of sugar and half & half, I might have felt differently.
Then again, after seeing this video I’m not so sure:
Today, I have an addiction to the stuff. I drink coffee every morning, sometimes two cups if I know I’ll need it. And I love it. The only thing I don’t love about it is when I’ve taken my last sip.
The most depressing thing is looking at the stained bottom of a coffee cup. It almost triggers nostalgia for the moment I first sat down with it.
Featured photo credit: Kids Empowered/Kids Food Allergies Program via flickr.com