I have eaten processed foods my entire life.

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I was once you. My mother never cooked, she only “heated up.” Therefore, when I got older and could “cook” for myself (teenager), I “heated up” too — with the exception of a random Hamburger Helper from time to time, which I thought was real, home-cooked Julia Child type cuisine. I changed (mid-20s or so) when I wasn’t a teenager anymore and eating that way started packing on the pounds. The problem was I genuinely LIKED the taste of fast food, frozen food and canned food. That’s all I knew. I started off by googling “fast food clones.” Say I wanted to incorporate more cabbage into my life, I’d make a KFC coleslaw. Follow the recipe exactly as far as spices are concerned, but tweak here and there (skim milk instead of whole, light mayo instead of full-fat). And don’t make too many tweaks at once. Just make one change the first time, two changes the second time, etc. The recipes aren’t going to taste exactly like the real thing, but more often than not, they’re going to be “good enough.” Second, find some cooks on YouTube you like, and start paying attention to what they’re doing rather than what they’re cooking. For example, I come from the southern US so if a recipe is supposed to be creamy and saucy, like a casserole, most folks grab a can or two of “cream of” soup and just use that. They don’t know you can just use a bit of cornstarch or flour to do the same thing! Roast veggies are WAY tastier than canned (who knew?) and it’s really easy to do. Plus, you may think you don’t like a veg (for me that’s squash) but roasted tastes totally different to the boiled-to-death mush my mother used to make. Try different ways of cooking veg and see if one really changes the taste for you. Sometimes it won’t. I haven’t yet found a way to cook Brussels sprouts that tastes good to me. It may seem like cooking takes a lot of time, and I won’t lie, it does take a while when you first get started. But I promise it is only because you’re still learning. Once you get the hang of it you’ll not only get faster, but much more efficient. On lasagna day, I brown the meat and throw the filling together in a bowl to chill in the fridge until I get home. Then all I have to do when I get home is boil the noodles, assemble and bake. You’ll figure out what works for you and how you can incorporate it into your day so it doesn’t feel like you’re cooking all the time. Edit to add: Also get to know your spices! That can really be a game changer with meals and veg. Sage is what makes sausage taste like sausage. Cumin makes chili taste like chili. So forth and so on. You’d think soy sauce makes Chinese taste like the buffet, but it’s actually oyster sauce! Don’t let names fool you, it doesn’t taste like oysters, but it makes all veg taste like it came from a restaurant. It’s still processed and likely has MSG, but we’re taking baby steps here!

Papa_Goulash

I don’t like anything mushy, slimy or soggy so I roast tons of veg every week (broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, squash, carrots, chick peas, brussel sprouts, parsnips, sweet potato). Typically I just toss whichever vegetable or vegetables I’m roasting in a little olive oil and season generously and then roast anywhere between 400-450 on a parchment lined sheet pan until they begin to get golden and are crisp. The spice mix I use varies but garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper are always on stand by in my house.

PineapplesandAlpacas

A great way to “sneak” vegetables into your food is to shred them up or chop them very small and put them in spaghetti sauce. You can use carrots, yellow squash, zucchini, spinach/kale, etc. Cook them in the sauce and they blend right in. I used to get my old roommates to eat veggies this way. They didnt even know. Prepackaged tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce usually have a lot of sodium though, so I usually use one jar of spaghetti sauce and “cut” it with unsalted tomato sauce to reduce the sodium. Then add lots of basil, oregano and garlic. As far as changing your palette, just keep trying new things. Look at some recipes online that seem intriguing and give them a try. In my personal experience, most foods I thought I “didnt like” were actually just prepared badly. The way something is cooked can really change how it tastes and its texture. Have you tried roasting vegetables? They are so much better than boiled or steamed. Try some carrots tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper in the oven at 425°F for about 10 to 15 mins. You can roast pretty much any vegetable by this basic guideline. Good luck OP! I really hope this helps.

Black_Airship

You could just try eating small amounts of healthy things. So have a piece of broccoli with your usual dinner. Then make it two and so on. Don’t try to push too hard, make it slow but steady and try not to think too hard before you try something new. It’s all in the mind really. I don’t necessarily like everything I eat but I do it because I know it’s good for me and it’s just an automatic thing now.

mck-_-

My rule for my kids was that they can have any condiment they want, as long as they eat their food. Sausage with grape jelly, ketchup in eggs, ranch dressing on all vegetables, soy sauce on everything. YMMV, but it worked for them. Also, give yourself permission to not like a particular dish, but leave room in your mind that other foods of a different quality or prepared differently may be good.

thepeanutone