Fitness Retreat Lunch and Learn: Picky Eaters Unite!

By Unite Fitness Retreat Dietician, Brooke Bouwhuis, RDN

Regardless of age, changing eating habits can incredibly difficult.  Grown-ups to teens to toddlers – changing habits surrounding food can be challenging.  Week after week, folks come to us who claim to be super pick eaters and they worry they won’t be able to eat, much less, enjoy the foods we serve.  To put your mind at ease, if you are in this category, we do expose you to a lot of variety  with vegetables and healthy cooking styles, however, our chefs have made it their mission to make healthy food taste good.  So, should you attend a fitness retreat, even if you are a “picky eater”?  YES! We do ask you prior to attending what foods you absolutely loathe and we won’t serve you those items, but we do ask that you have an open mind with your new healthy eating style.

It’s easy to spout all kinds of reasons why improving what you eat will benefit your health but at the end of the day, how do you really implement these changes?  This is one of our lunch and learn topics we go over.  How do you change your eating habits so when you go home you can keep up your healthy life-style?

We advocate for a diet filled with plants and packed with a rainbow of color. Most people don’t struggle with getting in too many carbs from cereals, breads, rice or other grains – we would all be better off by limiting these foods. On the other hand, it’s tricky to get 8-10 servings of veggies and fruits a day.

Most of us know, plants are generally super low in calories and fill you up with fiber, water along with the added benefit of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to help your body heal and thrive.  The farther away we get from the Beige Diet – think heavily processed carbohydrates packed with sugar and devoid of nutrients – the better our success with weight loss, slowing or reversing the disease process and the better we age.  So, what how can you start adding the greens if you dislike them?

One Tip: Where do you start if you are super picky and hate veggies?

The blender!  Green smoothies are the gateway habit that will change your life. 

It’s as simple as starting with a premade high protein shake (think Orgain, Premier Protein or Kirkland) pour it in the blender add 2 cups of spinach and blend until smooth. How does it taste? Just like the chocolate, vanilla or strawberry shake you thought it would taste like, it just so happens to be green now. 

Simply blend spinach for a few weeks to get the habit, routine and nourishing goodness into a solid routine then you can start to play around with it even more.  Consider tossing in cooked and cooled cauliflower or broccoli – just add one floweret and see what happens. Next time add two or three. Chuck in a carrot, ½ a zucchini or crook neck squash, a leaf of cabbage.

So many things can be tossed into the blender and ground into oblivion but as your drink it, your body will change. It will crave the smoothie each day in a similar way it used to crave ice cream or Kit Kat’s.  Ok, I might be reaching there but when you go without it for a few days, I guarantee, you and the picky people in your family will crave it.

Enjoy this recipe for my latest green smoothie obsession. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder (if you don’t have cacao, cocoa will work too)
  • 2 Tbsp PBfit (any brand of peanut butter powder is fine)
  • 1 -2 scoops collagen powder or your favorite protein powder (1 scoop is 10 grams protein, you decide how much you want)
  • ½ banana
  • A few berries
  • ½ – ¾ cup milk or milk alternative
  • Ice optional

Layer ingredients in blender with banana, berries, and spinach first, add liquid; follow with powders on top – layering simply keeps the powders from sticking to the bottom of the blender. Blend until smooth and enjoy.

You’ll learn a LOT of healthy eating tips at Unite Fitness Retreat, we’d love to show you how delicious healthy food can be.