Dear Cassey: Am I too picky to eat healthy?

Dear Cassey,

I love working out, but my relationship with food is not the best, especially since I’m a picky eater. I eat a couple of vegetables and love smoothies, but the problem comes when I don’t have time to make dinner because it was a busy day or we end up getting either pizza, Chinese or some kind of fast food.

I try to portion control when we eat out but would like to cut down more on it. Also, I would love to meal prep but by the following day, the food tastes super dry. So I don’t even attempt to do it.

I would like to eat more healthy so I can feel better but being a picky eater makes it so hard.

I think about giving up but I don’t want to. Any advice will be kindly appreciated.


Picky Eater

Hey Picky Eater!

I need to start out by saying THANK YOU for asking this question. I think there are so many people out there with the same problem, but they feel like they either need to force themselves to eat food they don’t enjoy or just give up and believe that they’re too picky to eat healthy.

Neither is true.

A healthy relationship with food looks a little different for everyone. It’s just finding whatever way you can eat as much nutritious food as possible, in ways that you enjoy. Because although nutrition and variety is important, forcing food into your diet that you don’t enjoy won’t be sustainable in the long run.

So how can you get more nutrition, and maybe rely less on eating out? I have some tips. Ready?!

Think big picture.

Life happens, so don’t feel guilty if it’s hard to get your family out of the habit of fast food. Instead, look for ways you can add value to your meal. What I mean is, how can you add nutrition? Most fast food or pizza places offer salad, and Chinese restaurants typically have steamed broccoli or sauteéd veggies.

Learning how to “compromise” is an amazing tool to change your eating habits in a subtle way. You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet from day 1 – it’s all about the big picture!

Find your meal prep staples.

Meal prep is soooo helpful – once you find what works for you!

Not everything tastes great when it’s prepped in advance. I totally agree that some foods get super dry, or soggy. Not sure which is worse! Anyways, you have to find your “staple” foods that you can easily prep and look forward to using later. Some of my favorite ones are:

Fruit – I like to have it washed, cut, and ready to eat.

Veggies – I like keeping some raw, ready to eat veggies for snacking, and I also love roasting a big batch of something super versatile that keeps for a couple days like sweet potatoes or green beans!

I also looove stocking up on frozen veggies to have something easy to add to any meal. They make life so much easier!

Grains – Quinoa or rice keep well and make a great side or base for a bowl.

Protein – Shredded chicken (slow cooking and then shredding helps to keep it from drying out), ground turkey, hard boiled eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas.

Do I have all of these things prepped all the time? Definitely not. I try to focus on a couple each week. I know I’ll almost always run into a time when they come in handy!

Don’t forget about flavor.

Healthy food should still have flavor! When I say I put Everything But The Bagel and Everything But The Elote from Trader Joe’s on everything… I’m not kidding 🙂 I also love adding sriracha and dipping veggies in hummus and guacamole.

People are sometimes afraid of sauces and dips because they add more calories, but I think they’re totally okay if it makes veggies taste good.

Have an open mind.

Mindset is important for making change. First, you have to believe that you’re not too picky to eat healthy! Then, commit to an open mind.

Tastes and preferences change all the time! Circle back to some foods you haven’t liked in the past and give them another shot. Even experiment with different cooking techniques, flavors, or pairings with foods that you know you enjoy. You might surprise yourself!

If you need recipe inspiration, I’m always posting my favorites on the blog and all of the recipes in the 90 Day Journey Meal Plan are amazing (and easy)!

Set yourself up for success.

If you know your day tends to get super busy, having a plan will save you time and stress. Get into the habit of making a casual meal plan for your family each week, and go grocery shopping before the week starts! You can even plan “backup” meals for when something comes up or you just don’t feel like cooking. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.

Backup meals can be something easy and healthy in your freezer, or something you know you can order and feel great about from a restaurant.

Start small.

Like, smaller than you think. It’s not easy to change your eating habits (or ANY habit!), and gradual change is much more sustainable. So pick one teeny change to accomplish at a time. Maybe start with trying one new recipe. Or meal prepping one food. Keeping salad in the fridge as a side for pizza night. Small!

I’ve been the picky eater before too. I even remember thinking maybe I was too picky to eat healthy! Once I addressed what was truly holding me back and went into slooooow change with an open mind, things started shifting. We all have busy times when there’s just no way we can cook 3 meals a day or eat perfectly, and that’s okay! The amazing thing about lifestyle change is that even though life will still throw us off every now and then, we can always get right back on track.

You can do this!

PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!

7 thoughts on “Dear Cassey: Am I too picky to eat healthy?”

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  1. Beatriz says:

    If able, go to a professional dietitian/nutritionist!
    I did and it has been the best thing ever!
    1st thing she told me: I am not going to force you eat something you dislike because you won’t stick to the plan & I have the resources to make sure you take enough nutrients no matter how picky you are.

  2. Lazy says:

    Hi Casey! I have a question on how to recover after a period of unhealthy eating and laziness. Unhealthy foods make me feel more lazy, so then I am lazy again and don’t put the effort into eating good food. Anyway it is hard for me to recover any suggestions?Also some specific things to eat the day after you overeat

  3. Thirsty Girl says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I know you drink a gallon of water a day, and I’ve slowly been making my way up to that since water is so beneficial in so many ways. I just got a 32-oz water bottle and I want to go all in, but I’m worried that drinking that much water will flush out all my electrolytes. Is there something I should change in my diet so I can do this?

    Thirsty for Water

  4. Suzanne says:

    *sigh* my issue is not picky eating but having ARFID aside from IBS. ARFID is basically completely eliminating whole food groups, and us who have it would rather starve than eat something we don’t want. There are various kinds of reactions and severities but in my case it’s retching/vomiting. My eliminated foods are fruit and vegetables. I’ve been working on myself for the past 5 years and I’ve managed to change some things, like I can have fruit smoothies as long as there are absolutely no bits, and this has been the most successful. I’ve made a conscious effort to try some veggies too…as long as they’re completely soft…and the taste is mostly disguised by other stronger tastes and textures, but with the veg it’s been harder. I have periods where I’m able to get them down and then I go longer periods where I can’t even smell them. I’m at my wit’s end and I have no specialist to turn to in my country because it’s an unknown concept thus far. I can’t rely only on exercise now that I’m 37… I’m currently overweight by about 15kg… it is just so frustrating. Any tips on how to completely disguise veggies’ taste and texture would be very much appreciated

  5. Rene says:

    Hey Cassey,
    Last year I finally got to my goal of 120lbs with the help of blogilates! But during this year life hit hard and I suffered from severe depression and anxiety. I had to begin taking medication and it has since made me gain weight even though I am still watching what I eat and still active daily. Its bringing me down to see my goal gone! 🙁 What advice do you have for battling weight gain from antidepressants?
    Thanks cassey!

  6. Magdalyn says:

    Hey Cassie, I’m 15 and I wanna know if doing the 90 day journey is right for me at the age I am at. I eat lots of fruits and veggies but I want to eat a lot more healthier in other things. At
    my house, I have 4 younger siblings that like to eat chips and candy, so it’s hard for me to try and healthy with all that junk food around. What should I do?
    Love, junk food lover

  7. ibgirl says:

    Dear Cassey,

    I love your workouts! I recently used your app and the challenges on it to refresh my workout routine and it has gotten me to focus on the neglected parts of my body. I really appreciate the variety of workouts since it keeps me entertained.

    As I’ve started doing research on how get certain parts of my body to where I feel confident in them, I now have questions. I have the smallest chest ever (we’re talking like A cup). Is it true that doing chest exercises would increase the size?

    Itty bitty girl