I never really considered myself a picky eater. I grew up in a house with lots of different types of food — mostly pretty healthy ones. Unlike most kids, I loved salad, tofu and rarely ate junk food. However, there were still things I was afraid to try because I thought I didn't like them. I was, and still am, someone who eats with their nose, so foods like fish and cheese weren't appealing to me.

My parents never forced me to try food, but they did encourage me to give most food a shot before deciding I didn't like it. While I resented them for this most of my life, I actually became grateful once I finally took that advice and started eating foods I thought I hated. 

Here is how my life changed once I found out I actually liked foods like avocado, raw fish, mushrooms, cheese (as long as it isn't too smelly) and salmon (sort of). 

1. I became more adventurous and willing to try new foods. 

The day my life changed forever was the day I found out I liked avocado. I had it before but was always put off by the mushy texture. After being persuaded by the avocado toast trend, I tried it again and couldn't get enough of the green goodness. 

At big family dinners, I was able to enjoy and appreciate the overly fancy cheese plates  by actually eating the cheese, not just fruit and nuts. Brie, a food I would never have tried a few years ago, is now one of my favorite cheeses. Raw fish, like sushi and poke, were huge "scare" foods from the smell and look, but once I actually tasted them, I realized I loved the flavor. I have gotten over the initial hump and cannot wait to see what I will try next. 

2. By adding new foods to my life like fish, my diet got healthier.

sushi, salmon, seafood, fish, sashimi, rice, tuna, wasabi, shrimp, meat, goody
Jocelyn Hsu

Fish is known to be high in omega-3 fatty acids. This is crucial for body and brain function and has even found to reduce the risk of disease. Additionally, fish is full of high-quality protein and many vitamins and minerals. 

The first fish I started eating was classic white fish, like tilapia. The subtle flavor was attractive to me — it didn't taste like the entire ocean was in my mouth. I started out slowly by adding lots of other flavors to the fish when I cooked it, like lemon and garlic, but now I enjoy eating it in any form. On the other hand, salmon is a fish that I know is healthy but I cannot get over the strong taste and smell. At this point in my life, I can only it salmon if it is covered in teriyaki sauce. It is a starting point and that is OK. I hope to eat more salmon in the future, which is something I never thought I would say (see, more growth right there)! 

3. I became a more open person, not just in terms of food.

I realized  that having new experiences and trying new things that you are afraid of, whether it is food or skydiving, can change you as a person. The old saying goes: "you don't know until you try it" and I can speak to this. As annoying as it may sound when you hear it countless times from parents or older folks who think they know best (which they probably do), it can actually change your life.

I have become more comfortable acting on a whim and more open to spontaneous adventures. This has taken form in exploring new nature sites and trying new restaurants.

4. I got even more excited about food. 

Everyone needs food. We need it for our happiness, health and sanity. I feel a special connection to food since I love to cook, so I get to see a delicious meal come together from scratch. Discovering that I like foods I thought I hated has allowed me to expand my food horizons and therefore enjoy more! I have begun to experiment more with my cooking and experiment with (usually) delicious recipes.

Amazingly enough, the foods I have recently started eating have become my favorites, so when someone mentions getting poke for dinner or making avocado toast as a snack, I experience more joy than ever. I know the more I try and experiment with new foods, the happier I will be. 

So what does this all mean for you?

I challenge each and everyone — especially picky eaters like me — to try a new food at least once a week. Take a step outside of your comfort zone and see the impact it can have on your life. Sometimes, trying a new vegetable is an adventure in itself.