Trying new foods and eating out

Trying new foods can be a tricky thing for autistics who are hypersensitive to tastes, textures and smells in regards to foods.

If you’re like me, and often find yourself stuck eating the same safe-foods quite often, then trying foods outside of that can be overwhelming. Though, that doesn’t always mean that we dont want to try new foods, even if it is quite scary to do so.

I know that for myself, I get anxious for multiple reasons when trying new foods, such as:

  • Food wastage
  • Fear of sensory overload
  • Not wanting to “go hungry” if I dont like it
  • New tastes being scary

Eating out

One thing that can be especially scary is eating out, due to my food sensory struggles. I never know if a meal will be prepared suited to my tastes, or whether it will have too much seasoning for my liking, even if its typically a “safe food” of mine.

Buffets and all you can eat places

One way I’ve found that makes it easier for me to not only try new foods safely, but also enables me to eat-out is going to places that serve things in a buffet style.

The “all you can eat” self-serve or multiple small-dish venue’s have recently become a more comfortable option for eating out. I get to order multiple tiny dishes, or plate up my own small bite-sized portions of foods, which means I don’t have to waste much if I do not like them.

My recent experience

Recently I tried an all you can eat sushi place with my significant other. This was daunting at first, but very quickly became an enjoyable experience.

We were able to order 5 dishes each, per round. I ordered things that I knew he liked, but I was unsure if I liked, as well as sone safe foods alongside them. This meant I could guilt-free try things that I never would have tried otherwise.

That outing I found multiple things that I would never eat again, but I also found multiple new foods that I would love to eat again.

There are a few which I am still uncertain of that I would need to try a few more times before knowing if I like them. Sometimes it can take quite some time for me to get used to new foods, and to decide if I enjoy the new flavours.

I found that it was enjoyable because:

  • I didn’t feel pressured to eat a full meal of something that I do not enjoy
  • Theres less pressure to be sure to that I like whats on my plate
  • The portions were small so if I didnt enjoy them, it wasn’t a big deal
  • I could alternate each small dish something I enjoy as well as something I was unsure of
  • Less pressure to “like” what is plated up
  • The small portion sizes meant that I didn’t get overfaced too easily
  • I could decide when I was “done” trying new foods at any point
  • If I got overwhelmed, I could stop when I felt like I needed to do so

Summary

Granted, this wont be ideal for everyone. But, given how scary eating out can be, as well as trying new foods, for me personally this is as close to ideal as is possble for me.

I know for some, sticking to known safe foods is their only option. But for those curious about expanding their safe foods and tastes, this could possibly be a nice work around.

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