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Help exposing partner to new foods

My partner and I are moving into a home together and I am the cook among us. She is the most wonderful woman in the world, but she has a long list of foods she dislikes and she came from a boring household culinarily speaking. Her mother used salt, pepper, garlic salt, and maybe oregano from time to time. My partner is used to tough steaks and roasts and she's learned to use cheap distilled vinegar, ketchup and salt to cover up bad foods. She's not a foodie like me as I won't even eat distilled vinegar, it's a cleaning product to me.

So my partner is a picky eater and doesn't like fish (except albacore tuna packed in water), bell peppers, mushrooms, most vegetables in fact except sweet corn, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, tomatoes, and perhaps carrots but they have to be raw. She has issues with textures of foods, issues I had as a child but outgrew. She has agreed to try new foods but I know her and if she doesn't like it the first time she won't give me a second chance.

So my question is how do I get her to eat healthier?

We've stopped eating out on a regular basis and I'm going to be making home cooked meals every night. I'd like to try feeding her some fish and more vegetables. I got her to eat artichokes and spinach but only in a cheesy dip. What kind of fish is least fishy? I know fresh fish shouldn't smell of fish, but I'm not to familiar with fish outside of salmon, cod, flounder, sole. I'd like to try tuna steaks as she likes steak. I was thinking fish and chips would be good since cod is mild, in my experience.

How did you get your kids to try new food? Please help me.


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  1. I found this... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/411320 but I'm still looking for more info on getting her to eat healthier in general.

    1. Well, to answer your last question, we had the most success when the kids were involved in the process. Would she be interested in cooking with you at all? If so, I recommend making something you know she'll like, not a hopeful dish. Build slowly. Also, when I was serving things I knew might be a stretch, I tried to include something they'd love like garlic bread or whatever. That way they didn't have a bad taste about the meal in general and develop aversions to things. (God, we work at this, don't we?)

      Canned tuna. Of course there is tuna casserole and you could serve the vegetables she likes, sliced, on the side. Use a vinaigrette to turn it into a salad. Maybe she'd whisk that up.

      A version of Salad Nicoise using only ingredients she likes. Skip the olives etc, this is just to get her eating her foods in new ways but with nothing offensive added.
      As time goes by she may be interested in add-ins.

      Raw carrots and broccoli: Will she eat slaw? Serve it with some meals, and soon you'll have her putting it on her sandwiches. New idea, new taste combo, slowly the door is opening...

      We have non-fish eaters who love fish fry. It's mild and, well, fried. Go for it.

      Could you use the cheesy artichoke spinach dip as a sauce for some kind of bake or saute? Lemon it up and use chicken, perhaps?

      I realize these are very basic ideas but I have been there with fussy eaters and believe the most productive approach is a cautious one! Tip-toe in and let us know how things progress.

      Good luck, Joseph!

      1 Reply
      1. re: fern

        Thanks for the reply. She might eat a slaw, but she won't eat raw broccoli plain. She likes to cook with me, that's a great idea to get her involved. She likes olives, she used to just eat black olives from a can because her mother got poor quality green olives, but now I've gotten her to eat some nice green olives and kalamata olives and she loves them.

        I'll post the results when I get a chance to try them. We don't move until the end of the month.

      2. No kids (and no issues when I was one) but my husband of 35 years is sort of particular and judgemental about food. I'm not one to tell others how to live their life, although as I get older sometimes I'm sorry I didn't. So I've always made what he likes, and then something different for me. Say if it's flounder (the only fish he'll eat) his has to be fried, while I'll broil it or get a different fish/seafood. Wait, he'll eat fresh tuna if I coat it in pepper and grill it rare. Because after years of making this for myself he tried it. When he wants a burger or hot dogs and fries, I have a turkey or veggie burger, or some leftovers that he won't touch, like curry . Vegetables he mostly won't eat, unless covered with cheesy sauce, which negates the whole thing for me. So I make two versions.

        But he loves soup so I make lots of that, and if it's seasoned right he doesn't need it creamy. So there's an idea. At least he's eating home cooking and some vegetables, I always wonder what he'd eat if I wasn't around. Probably McDonalds and cold cuts and Devil Dogs. So my advice is to take it slow and try to adapt things to her taste, and you eat what you want and maybe she'll get curious, then eventually you will have some new favorites for her. Although it might take 35 years!

        5 Replies
        1. re: coll

          That was going to be my backup plan, just eat what I like and she could try it if she wanted. But making two meals seems like it would be more expensive than if we could agree on foods. Maybe I should make two meals half the time and try to find something we could both like the other half. It just might get boring since the common ground is limited.

          We've been together for ten years and your post gives me the realization that she may never totally like everything I like, but hope that she'll eventually try new things.

          1. re: shsesc

            It's not as bad as I made it sound, lots of nights we have the same thing with very slight differences, like he can't have a sandwich without mayo and I prefer mustard or guacamole or whatever. And leftovers are great for me, if I make him grilled cheese for example I just nuke something I made a day or two before. Once you're living together, it won't seem like such a big deal. The trick is like with kids, don't force it, rather make them jealous of how much you enjoy your special dinners: After awhile, the mindset will shift. Especially as you get older and start thinking about your health, as mentioned below.

            1. re: shsesc

              I've recently began making the same meal then changing it in the end. For example yesterday I made fried rice. I had all the ingredients ready, the pinapple, veggies, rice cooked in beef juices. I then added what SO likes to the pan, fried it up quickly and served it. Mine I added onions first and chilis and would have finished it off with green onion if I had any.

              Today I made gnocchi so I cooked the heavy cream in skillet with some garlic, soup stock cube until it was a sauce, next added all the gnocchi in and mixed it up. Took mine out and plated it, threw on some crumbled blue cheese which melted beautifully on top with cracked black pepper. Back in the pan added a bit of cheddar for SO and served it as soon as it was melted.

              I find cooking this way helps a lot, before this I'd just prepare something for SO and then make something entirely different for myself when I had more time.

            2. re: coll

              This is a really tough question. The guy I dated before meeting my husband once took me to a Chinese restaurant where he ordered a steak and then asked for ketchup. I knew our relationship didn't have a future. I think it is difficult when two people have a different set of taste buds. My husband really doesn't care for anything in the cabbage family. I grew up in a non-fish home. Our Catholic fridays featured fried clams and scallops. We grew up in the 50s and 60s. The bland years. Even in the 1980s it was difficult finding recipes that used herbs. We have two granddaughters now. One loves almost everything including black olives. The 3 yo didn't like anything for a long time. She recently discovered she liked the little peas inside of sugar snap pods and liked garlic roasted portabella mushrooms.
              I have learned to like fish for my husband's sake. He prefers simply grilled anything. Salmon, flounder, haddock, swordfish are all fine with me. I like any kind of sauce and seasoning but he doesn't. I add my preferences after it is cooked or sometimes my piece of fish gets a sauce, his doesn't.
              We have both learned to like a lot of new things so I think time helps as well as trying things. My sister always orders the same thing at a Chinese restaurant because she's afraid she might not like a new dish. I will try most anything at least once. A few years ago I went on a diet so I started eating more salads and fresh fruit. Before I could pass on an apple but now I have to have my daily apple. Fujis right now until local apples come into season. My taste buds changed over a period of a year because I had to eat more fresh vegetables and fruit. I liked things before but I am amazed at how much my preferences have changed. I think a lot of people don't realize that fruits and vegetables have different flavors depending on the variety. Perhaps your partner doesn't expect new flavors so maybe you should open the discussion there. Local, fresh tomatoes are obviously tastier but does she understand the difference in flavors of different potato varietys, for example? Canned beans are tasteless. DH prefers yellow beans picked while they are still small. Visit a farmers market together or good local farmstand. I never ate a parsnip until one dinner at my future in-laws. They grew their own. We also have preferences when it comes to winter squash varieties. We find butternut to be somewhat bland and used to prefer buttercup varieties until I started growing a kabocha variety.

              I try not to do too many sauces because DH prefers simpler preparations. He will try most things, to be nice, but I don't expect him to love a couscous casserole. He doesn't care for noodles but he will eat them. I love noodles. Learn to compromise. I think this is really key to a relationship. DH eventually decided he liked spicy food but because of his taste buds I don't think he will ever like cilantro.
              If your concerns are based on healthier eating, I think you should insist that she give it time to develop new preferences. If you are young, you think healthy eating doesn't matter all that much but when you get older you realize what a serious issue it is. We should have grown up with a low fat diet but we didn't make changes until a doctor required it. And, my husband is very grateful that I was willing to make all the dietary changes he needed. I listened to what the nutritionist had explained to him. OTH he has friends whose wives have refused to make any changes. They are on their own to eat differently. I think you and your partner should discuss health issues. My MIL complained when they had to start eating more chicken and fish and no beef yet there are a zillion ways to prepare both. Meals do not have to be boring.

              1. re: dfrostnh

                We're young and both overweight. We have time on our side, but I want to use this change of address as a way to change our habits and she agrees. We're stopping eating in restaurants except for special occasions and we'll probably start some sort of exercise program as well.

                I love parsnips by the way, that just reminded me that she might like them roasted like potatoes...

            3. She's an adult and quite capable of buying and preparing her own food. Why can't you (and others in this situation) just say screw it, if you don't like what I've cooked fix your own dinner? Try some tough love? I know this is not a typical Chowhound response, but she is not a child and shouldn't be treated like one. Of course it might not work in the OP's situation because it's a 10 year relationship and more to loose of it back fires, but for parents and those in shorter relationships?

              4 Replies
              1. re: viperlush

                Because she'd be eating ramen noodles and double cheeseburgers and I care too much about her to not try to get the both of us healthy so we can live a long happy life together.

                I'll take Shane's method over yours because like he said, if I turn it into a conflict someone has to win and the woman always wins one way or another. I want this for both of us. I'm not treating her like a child, I'm trying to shape her as an adult. I think this major life change of moving is a great catalyst for change in other areas.

                thanks to everyone who's responded so far

                1. re: shsesc

                  You did ask <How did you get your kids to try new food? Please help me.> So that made it sound as if you are treated her like a child.

                  <I'm trying to shape her as an adult>. As other threads have shown us that some people can't be shaped/changed.

                  Like I said, for you it might not be the best method, but for those who are just started out or for parents? I know that if I was in your situation I would be frustrated, eventually grow tired, and say screw it you are on your own. You are obviously more patient that I am, and I admire that.

                2. re: viperlush

                  I am with you. When I got married my husband told me he didn't like eggplant or prawns and he wasn't too into Chinese food, he mostly just liked meat and potatoes type American foods, and foods cooked his mama's way from his family's home country. Well, I just cooked whatever I wanted and he just ate it. Too bad for him. I am a good cook, so he should appreciate that he married someone who knows how to cook and likes to cook cuz not everyone does, and not all newlyweds know how to cook either. He should count himself lucky. So now he eats lots of Chinese food, Thai food, Vietnamese food, or what have you, and he has never said a thing about eggplant when I make it. He can still only eat 2-3 prawns when I cook them, or a mild flavored fish, no squid or other delicious creatures...but he has gotten over everything else. So I usually make friends with people who like to eat seafood so that we can have that when we go out together and I never miss it. Tough love is the way to go IMHO. I do occasionally do some steak and potatoes and I have his mama's well worn recipe book. But I have definately helped him expand his horizons.

                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    WOW! I like your method. Also what viperlush said kind of makes sense.
                    I occasionally will feel like doing that, maybe only for the sake of getting my SO to actually start learning how to cook because if you don't actually visit the kitchen you just won't learn. It's through experimenting, learning and trying that I actually learned how to cook.
                    Sometimes I feel they won't step in the kitchen because it's "my territory" and because I've arranged things and know where everything is/what ingredients are available. While I'm also protective of the kitchen so it doesn't get messed up which would give me a heartattack if I found out I really really want and wish my SO would get into cooking.

                3. I have some friends like this and have learned to go slow. If someone is afraid of heights, you don't take them up the top of a 1,000 foot cliff. Right? I love introducing people to fresh, delicious ingredients. So what I'd do is find out what her favorite dish is, then make it for her with excellent ingredients and a gourmet touch. It'll be easy to approach and fun. I once put roasted leeks in a tater tot hot dish. I waited until everyone was enjoying it and then someone asked what I put in it because it was so good.

                  A tip on getting people to eat veggies. Roast them. Totally different flavor that is more palatable to people who have veggie issues. My wife hated brussels sprouts and cauliflower until we roasted them. Unfortunately, most of us grew up with boiled and steamed veggies, which is probably the worst way to prepare half of them.

                  Also, just know that some people will never like certain things and that's okay. I'm a foodie and will try anything, but if you give me a pickle I'll give it right back to you.

                  And, I totally disagree with the tough love idea. If you make it feel like a conflict then someone will have to win and you'll get nowhere. She'll be eating canned tuna for years just to prove a point. For the sake of love, keep it fun and include her in the process!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Shane Greenwood

                    I completely agree with this. My boyfriend was known as the "chicken finger" guy to all his friends before meeting me. I had the challenge of opening up his mind to new and different ingredients, and forms of cooking. The most basic example was him picking out orange bell peppers from a sandwich once because they werent green. But Ive spent a lot of time explaining the benefits of fresh ingredients, and just letting him try stuff. If Im making something with stuff that he isnt too sure about- then I let him try what Im eating- if he likes it then we share it- if not- then Ill do a quick sautee of spinach- the veggie he liked the most when I met him. He is the same as your partner though- if he tries it and doesnt like it- then he wont try again.
                    Very occasionally I'll sort of hide ingredients in dishes and see if he likes it-then Ill tell him later what it was. Or I'll add "fun" ingredients to tried and true dishes- if Im making meatloaf-I always add zucchini and mushrooms to the mix- he loves them that way. Or Ill sautee mushrooms in with spinach.
                    Funny story was our first sushi experience together- we got a lot of basic maki rolls-and one of my favorites- the una-avo- eel and avocado. I didnt anticipate him even wanting to try it-but he did and loved it- I later learned that he thought that it was "veal and avocado" which is the only reason he tried it in the first place. But he did love it- and eats it regularly when we go out to sushi.
                    Long story short, I think that patience and education are the best ways to go about introducing her to new ingredients etc. Now when we go out to dinner with his friends, they are constantly impressed with his choice in entrees, and interest in preparation.

                    To answer your other question- I think that Mahi Mahi is a very approachable fish as well, and swordfish has a really wonderful flavor as well that isnt too fishy.

                    1. re: Shane Greenwood

                      You have great ideas. I think this is what anyone does for those they really love and want to please. When my hubby and I got married I knew exactly what he loved and what his Mom made the best and I set out to make those things, and to make what he loved taste the best. He absolutely loves my cooking too. Then he knew that he could trust my cooking skills, so when he did try something different he was open to it and has learned to love things that he didn't know he liked before.

                      1. re: Shane Greenwood

                        What makes me want to cry is when I lightly boil, delicately bread and bake or pan fry cauliflower Florettes and SO says he's rather have them boiled. *sigh* Now I guess I shouldn't be complaining because at least he'll eat cauliflower but it drives me nuts!!

                      2. A few thoughts:

                        I have read several recent studies on kids learning to like new foods which claim it can take up to 26 exposures to a food before a child will decide to like it or not. I assume that this can apply to adult tastebuds as well, so don't give up on a food right away. Perhaps ask what she doesn't like about it (bitterness, texture, etc.) and try to figure out together a way to cook it differently the next time around.

                        Second I would recommend working to avoid introducing a new ingredient and a new texture at the same time. As an example, my father is an avowed mushroom hater. Yet he loves creamy dishes. After years of failure to get him to enjoy mushrooms I finally served him a morel risotto that he swooned over. He still won't eat them any other way, but finding just one dish was a triumphant moment for me! So if you are working to introduce a new veggie, try it in an omelete, soup, or pasta dish instead of on its own to start off.

                        Hope that helps!


                        1. Too bad you can't do this with an adult:

                          When visiting my sister once, her 4-year old daughter and friend, also 4, were eating dinner. At one point the friend said to me, "I don't eat fish; I don't like it!", while happily chomping on some fish. My sister had a smile, and told me quietly that she told the kid that it was chicken.

                          I grew up in a houshold where we ate everything, including offal, which I love, so I can't understand adults who are unwilling to try new foods. If I did not like what was on my plate I went hungry....I never went hungry.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: souschef

                            That's funny souschef. My DIL and son tell their fussy 3 yo "want some chicken, you like chicken" no matter what kind of meat or fish is really is. When our son was young and had never had swordfish before, my MIL told him it was white steak.

                            1. re: souschef

                              This happened with adult relatives of ours too, my mother prepared beautiful zucchini boats filled with browned ground beef and nuts, topped with a creamy sauce and broiled in a casserole. Everyone went on about how they HATED zuccihin and would never eat it while eating this dish, it was hilarious!!

                              I grew up in household too where we ate offals, and I'm open to eating and trying pretty much anything. My sisters are a lot pickier than myself and I always wondered what makes a child picky and how to avoid this. From my experience I found more north american kids to be pickey esp. with regards to veggies, most kids I've met in several different countries and regions of the world love to eat veggies even from a small age (african and indian kids get fed regular food or whatever their parents are eating at a very young age without being mushed up or anything)

                            2. Any chance you can change the Title to:

                              "Help Exposing new Foods to Partner"


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: jfood

                                I don't see and option to edit the post. If you tell me how I will.

                              2. When I met my boyfriend his favorite foods were tuna noodle casserole and buffalo wings and the only vegetable he enjoyed was stuffed mushrooms, he still loves all of these but now he also loves mussels, zucchini, duck, etc. I think it was mostly because he had not been exposed to different types of foods and grew up in a family with a very tight budget.

                                In the beginning when we would go out we would both order whatever we wanted and he would try a bite of mine, then we started ordering appetizers to share but we both had to agree on the (which usually meant whatever I wanted). When I started to cook dinners for us more at home I always made some kind of vegetable along with whatever the main course/starch was. Eventually he started to get so used to the healthy foods that I was eating that he would start ordering them and cooking them.

                                I guess the moral of the story is - we went very slow with him just agreeing to take bites of what I was eating and with him agreeing not to complain about what I was cooking unless he wanted to step into the kitchen and take over. I started by baking the veggies with cheese or roasting them with heavy spices. Now he eats *almost* everything that I eat and actually loves grilled veggies.

                                1. I agree with the others who say not to make it a conflict. Food preferences are not something to get confrontational about, IMO.

                                  You know what did it for my dad (who grew up in a house that sounds JUST like your partner's childhood home!), 30-some years ago when he married my mom and his preferred diet included beef, iceberg lettuce, potatoes, and sweet corn? Gardening. The man who wouldn't touch a tomato now eats pretty near everything, because my mom wanted a garden.

                                  It was baby steps. Mom would make a dinner he enjoyed, and then have a plate of fresh sliced tomatoes on the side, still warm from the garden. Or she would make a meal that combined something he loved (like red meat) with something he hadn't eaten before. He didn't go from refusing foods to loving them overnight -- it's been a long journey of learning to enjoy new flavors.

                                  Talk to her about this -- tell her stories about how much your tastes have changed over the years, that you've grown to love some foods that you used to hate, that there's a whole world of nutritious, flavorful foods out there that you'd love to explore together. And then let it go. Don't make this a nightly issue where you're trying to change her. Start from the familiar and work from there, a little at a time.

                                  Good luck!

                                  1. Another idea that I've seen help open people up is to visit the farmer's markets. Don't go with an agenda, just go to check it out. There is something infectious about seeing all the colors and being around the passion of the people who grew it. Try chatting them up, ask them where the farm is, what else they grow, how they recommend preparing the thing they're selling, etc. (You might even end up invited to a farm dinner.) She'll probably see at least one thing she likes there. Corn is in season right now. We're getting great stone fruit in California too. Summer tomatoes. Strawberries. All are in the markets and fresher than anything in the grocery store. If you just grabbed a basket of berries and sat in a park to eat them, you'd be well on your way to converting a foodie.

                                    1. You might want to do a little googling into taste bud testing to identify nontasters, normal tasters, and supertasters. There's a test kit you can buy, but also a food-coloring test that allows a visual evaluation of the tongue. Many vegetables are bitter to supertasters, for example. A genuine biological difference in taste perception is something hard to overcome. Perhaps you can also get a broad idea of what basic flavor profiles she does and doesn't like. For example, if she prefers sweet things, roasted vegetables might well appeal to her when steamed or raw would not. A little favorite salad dressing drizzled over plain cooked vegetables may improve her reception. If cheese sauce will do the trick, use it and gradually cut back on the proportion till you get to some cheesy bread crumbs, or nothing.

                                      I agree that this is a great time of year to get interested in produce, with all the fresh stuff at the farmers' markets. Make a pact to buy something that neither of you has had before, and then each of you can try fixing it a different way, doing a taste test.

                                      Tilapia is mild and readily available. The thin fillets are easily baked or broiled. I buy prepared seafood stuffing in the fish department (or use plain cooked rice) and spread it in a baking pan, then lay the tilapia over it. Atop that, shredded vegetables mixed with teriyaki sauce (I use Mr. Yoshida's cooking sauce), Bake at 375 for about 15 min, until the edges of the veggies and stuffing are golden brown. I do this in the toaster oven. Very colorful, delicious, and easy.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        My guess is she's a super taster. She can taste better than me, I know that. She can taste the difference between soda from a fountain , can and bottle. Interestingly, she salts her food, I would think that would turn up the volume on flavors and she would be overwhelmed.

                                        1. re: shsesc

                                          The term is a misnomer and really has nothing to do with how "well" one can taste. Of course EVERYONE wants to be SUPERTASTER, as though it comes with spandex and a cape. The classic test involves a chemically-permeated strip. Some people taste nothing, others slight bitterness, and supertasters extreme bitterness. These people tend to dislike coffee, beer, and taste the heat in chile peppers more. Yet some supertasters like hot foods while others don't. You really can't assume a category without doing a test or visual exam.

                                          1. re: greygarious

                                            Able to taste tall buildings in a single lick etc, I get what you're saying I'll have to do a test, which test is best?

                                      2. I haven't read every post here, so please forgive any redundant content.

                                        The best gateway for vegetable, in my humble opinion, is crudites. Either raw, or blanched and shocked. Your lady seems like the type that might appreciate a little ranch dressing for dipping.

                                        Put them out as appetizers. Keep track of her likes and dislikes and that will provide the building blocks for your menus in the future.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Brandon Nelson

                                          I'll have to try that, she loves ranch dressing.

                                        2. What I've always seen work is that the agreement is that they have to take three bites. If they still intensely dislike it after three bites, subject closed. I would start with using side dishes to experiment, that way the bulk of the meal is still something she knows that she likes. Then, as she discovers new things she likes, you can incorporate them into main dishes and slowly expand your repertoire.

                                          1. Since you're impetus for making these changes is health (you mentioned that the both of you are overweight), you might want to go about this in a roundabout way by introducing (or ramping up) your exercise. Many people--myself included--became more interested in healthier eating and were more apt to try new flavors after experiencing the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. If your new neighborhood is a good place for it, try taking a brisk walk or bike ride or run together. Afterward, the two of you can cook together (heck, maybe you can even plan the meal together while you're exerising).

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: nofunlatte

                                              The new neighborhood is all hills, so it's great for a walk. Now I just have to get her to come along. I walked 7.75 miles yesterday, she wouldn't come with.

                                              1. re: shsesc

                                                Almost 8 miles (with hills, no less) is a fantastic workout. But maybe that's a bit much for her. Why not start smaller, say a mile or two? If she still doesn't want to join you (and she doesn't want to try new foods), you may have to accept that she really doesn't want to change right now. Many times we say we want to change something in our lives, but we really prefer to remain in our comfort zones. That said, since people do change, at some point (maybe after watching you eat healthy and exercise) she will decide to just do it.

                                            2. You've already got some great advice here.

                                              I agree with starting somewhat slowly... Perhaps try and health-ify some of her favorite unhealthy foods, and incorporate some new foods into them in the process...

                                              Turkey burgers, but mix in some veggies and/or low-fat cheese like jarlsberg.

                                              Fish tacos with grilled fish, veggies, minimal oil, a little avocado for healthy fat, some salsa

                                              Fish - start with sticks, but make them yourself with an innocuous fish, and perhaps panko bread crumbs, herbs, then bake

                                              Whole Wheat Pasta with Turkey Meatballs .. Maybe even use half pasta, half spaghetti squash

                                              Stirfries-- vary the veggies, the protein (chicken breast, shrimp...)

                                              Spring rolls instead of egg rolls

                                              Egg White Omelettes can be a vehicle... can also make frittata with skim milk and experiment with ingredients and flavors

                                              I'd rework stuff she knows healthier, and try to incorporate new items... then you can foray into dishes focused more around the new items... Just my ten cents!

                                              1. My sister used to be picky - as a child and then as an adult. It became something she was known for and teased about. Her husband got her started trying new things, just kept making things for them that included some of the offending items, but with other things too. Like, he would make scrambled eggs with mushrooms in it - if she didn't like it she would just eat the other items - toast, cantaloupe, etc. I do a similar thing with my toddler, even if he rejects something, I continue to make it, continue to serve it to him, but with a lot of other options along side of it. Eventually my sister realized that some of the things she thought she hadn't liked all her life, she did (if prepared right), and other things she grew to like. I think it just was a shift in her attitude, like, "hey, I don't want to be THAT person anymore, the one with food issues." Because really, I know from experience that you can learn to like something if you try long enough, you get over aversions through exposure.

                                                With children, rejecting foods can be a control issue, one of the things they can refuse to do in a world where little choice is given to them. You can't force the issue or it makes them worse. At the same hand, persistence and encouragement go a long way. Maybe just saying that you are going to continue to cook items you know she doesn't like, but mixed in with lots of things she does like - and tell her it will be an opportunity for both of you - for her to grow as a foodie and you to grow as a cook.

                                                Learning to enjoy lots of foods opens many doors - pickiness is a big barrier when traveling, socializing etc. It is really best to think of it as a personality flaw that can be overcome with effort, and doing so will make one a happier person in the end. Sometimes the best things in life come only after trying something that we don't understand or like at first - (modern art, mountaineering, jazz, beer). If there are things you don't understand or like that she does, you should definitely make an issue of trying those things too - to be a good sport about it.

                                                good luck! :)