As part of my contribution to National Nutrition Month (and a check mark on my objectives for my internship) I will/have been dedicating a few hours every week in order to get people inspired to try new foods.
The first day of my National Nutrition Month project was last Tues, where I handed out samples of veggie burgers (Morningstar) in Dillon Cafe (@ St. Vincent's Hospital).
This is not the first time I have asked people to try "New" foods so I know what to expect and to not to be overly sensitive when it comes to people not wanting to try something so delicious (or in my eyes, supper yummy!).
Food can be a sensitive topic and certainly an uncomfortable topic for many. I believe that you have to be very careful with how you approach food. No one wants to be educated and told what to do, especially when changes are necessary but difficult to make. Also, no one wants to be forced to do anything, especially when they struggle with making changes that others make so easy. While you need thick skin when asking people to try something new (especially when they didn't ask you to help them), you also can't be defensive. What works for you may not work for others and it's important that we all realize that we are all different and we all have different choices when it comes to food and how we fuel our lifestyle.
There are a lot of people out there (in both the nutrition and sports nutrition world) that claim food as "good or bad" or "healthy or unhealthy" or "don't eat or eat". I don't like those words. My favorite words are "emphasize and de-emphasize" as well as "performance enhancer and performance limiter". I find those words can be much more realistic when making changes and not so intimidating.
As I was handing out samples (which were enjoyed by many...the last picture is proof that I didn't eat all the samples, I promise) I wrote down comments by the testers. Here are some of the comments I heard when I asked people "Do you want to try a free sample of a veggie burger? If you like it you can order the veggie burger today for a discounted price!" "I'm not a vegetarian" I'm a beef person I don't think so Scared of it, it's not beef Nobody wants that stuff. It's fake meat. That's really good! You turned me. Ok, I'll try it. Is that fruit cake? That's not that bad. Are you a vegetarian? Do you eat that? Love it...you sold me! Don't like vegetables. Always wanted to try one of those. Love veggie burgers! Is this that veggie burger thing? Not that bad. Probably need one, but don't want to taste one. It's all right. I was a vegetarian for 2 years so I've had them before. How many fat grams? How many carbs? I already know I don't like it. It would be awesome if I liked it.