19 CRAZY RECIPES TO SAVE YOU TIME
How to Choose Recipes if You Have Sensory Issues
If you have sensory issues and experience sensitivity to sounds, smells, flavors, or textures, mealtimes may be a challenge. If you’re stuck in a rut trying to find meals, know that there are lots of ways to eat nutritious foods that you also can enjoy. Try new foods by keeping familiar elements in your recipes. Make small tweaks instead of major changes. Play with different textures until you find some that you enjoy. If you struggle greatly, consider seeing a professional for help.
Choosing Meals that Appeal to You
Avoid recipes that rely on ingredients with a strong aroma.This might include cooked onions or garlic, strong spices, or other aromas you find displeasing. If a recipe calls for a strongly scented food, omit it or find a replacement that is more pleasing to you.
- For example, substitute other vegetables (such as broccoli or green pepper) in place of onions.
- Some other foods to avoid cooking because of their aroma might include ginger, cinnamon, or meat.
Choose preparation methods that are quiet.If noise bothers you, avoid recipes that require loud sounds, such as the blender or mixer. This might mean mixing ingredients by hand or cutting foods into small pieces on your own.
- For example, if you want to make a smoothie but don’t want to listen to the blender, make a simplified smoothie by adding a powdered protein mix to a liquid (such as almond milk) and shaking it in a covered cup.
Stick to your preferred food textures.You may prefer soft foods or crunchy foods. Whatever your preference, you can choose recipes that use those types of foods. For example, if you enjoy eating soft textures, choose recipes which cook the vegetables instead of eating them raw, or choose mashed potatoes over potato wedges. If you prefer crunchy textures, add nuts to your meals as a garnish.
Build off of preferred textures.Narrow your choices by searching recipes which include a food with a pleasant texture as a base. It might be too much to venture into trying full new recipes, so stick to the textures you prefer and add onto them.
- For example, if you enjoy rice, look for rice dishes or meals that include rice as a major ingredient. This might mean making a stir fry, rice porridge, or a risotto.
Prepare foods with an undesirable texture in a new way.If you avoid foods due to their texture, think about using a new method to prepare or eat them. For example, you may dislike soggy cereal, so eat it dry or with yogurt instead of milk. Find creative ways to prepare foods so that you don’t run into issues with texture.
- If you dislike the texture of mushrooms, cut them into small pieces and put them into a dish with other foods you enjoy. If you don’t enjoy mushrooms as the main course, use them in a smaller role.
Making Minor Adjustments to Meals
Make small changes to foods.You don’t have to get entirely out of your comfort zone to experience new things. Make a recipe you’ve made before but tweak 1 or 2 things about it. For example, if you like to eat noodles, try ramen or udon noodles 1 night. If you enjoy rice, try brown rice 1 night. Making small changes to things you tend to like can help you discover new flavors and new recipes.
- Don’t make more than 1 or 2 changes per recipe. If you find a recipe in a cookbook, tailor it to your tastes with minimal changes to what you normally eat.
Sneak healthy foods into your favorite recipes.If you hate the texture of certain vegetables and struggle to eat enough, try cutting or blending them and putting them in foods you enjoy. Find ways to ‘hide’ healthy foods that have a difficult texture for you so that you can still eat the foods you enjoy, just with some added nutrition.
Add condiments to iffy foods.Find which condiments you enjoy the most and add them to new or questionable foods. Knowing that you enjoy one food item can help you be open to enjoying another item.
- If you’re trying a new recipe as a guest at someone’s house, consider bringing your own condiments such as mustard, mayonnaise, or ketchup if you aren’t sure they will be available.
Make mealtime predictable.One way to reduce stress around foods is to make mealtimes predictable and routine. Serve meals at the same time each day. Eat off of the same dinnerware each time. While these routines are simple, they can help ease stress by creating predictability and structure.
Getting Additional Help
Keep a record of which foods you enjoy.Have some ‘go-to’ foods that you know you enjoy and can eat regularly. People with sensory processing problems often enjoy bland foods such as pasta, rice, or potatoes. Try using these foods as a base for a recipe and try something new to go with it. That way, you’ll eat something you know you enjoy but also have the opportunity to try something new.
Seek guidance from a dietitian.A registered dietitian can help you determine what foods to eat more or less of based on your needs. They can answer any questions you may have about diet, supplements, and nutrition. If you struggle to feel nourished after your meals, consult with a specialist to get a better idea of how to better balance your meals.
- Ask your doctor to recommend a registered dietitian or look online at .
Make an appointment with an occupational therapist.If your sensory issues keep you from eating a balanced and nutritious diet, consider seeing an occupational therapist. Many people who struggle with foods tend to have other sensory issues that affect them outside of mealtime. An occupational therapist can help you accept more tastes and textures with your food selections and other sensitivities that may affect your day-to-day living.
- Schedule an appointment with an occupational therapist by calling your insurance provider or a local health clinic near you. You can also speak with your physician for a referral or for a recommendation.
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