Trials Of A Picky Eater Abroad

Trials Of A Picky Eater Abroad

And exploring the world on an empty stomach

If you're studying abroad, like I am right now, you know that everyone back home is living vicariously through you, and what they seem to care most about are the sights and the food. "Is the food amazing?" is often the first thing people ask after, "Have you gone to the Colosseum, yet?"

And it is amazing. The pasta has been perfect and the pizza is definitely the best I've ever had. The issue I find myself running into most is that I like my pizza without toppings and my pasta sauce-less, two things that are basically unheard of in Italy. I've only been in for Rome two weeks, and I've already encountered these six struggles any picky eater outside their home country knows well.

1. Your usual go-to foods are nowhere in sight.

Back in America, no matter the restaurant, you will probably be able to find something like a hamburger or chicken fingers. You might have to ask for the kids' menu to do it, but if you're really not feeling adventurous that night, it's easy enough to find something you like, or at least recognize. In other countries, they have an entirely different set of restaurant staples. Figuring out which ones you like requires trying them, something any picky eater is most likely trying to avoid.

2. You've just been introduced to an entirely new group of foods for people to try to convince you to try.

Without a doubt, one of the most annoying parts of being a picky eater is the people who keep insisting you try different foods despite knowing your eating habits. At home, at least your friends and family know the foods you're not willing to try, but every new country brings a mountain of new things you've never even heard of. This can become an even bigger problem when you're out with a more adventurous eater. People who love to eat anything and everything always seem to be the ones holding a fork across the table, saying, "Just taste it."

3. You risk having people think you're rude or didn't like your meal when you leave a pile of pieces of food you didn't want on the edge of your plate.

This is true anywhere, but especially in a different country. Basically, any picky eater has used the lip of their plate for foods they don't plan on eating, and knows that moment when they realize the pile has taken over half the plate. In Italy, they expect that you will finish all (or, at least, most) of the food they give you, so that growing pile becomes an even larger problem.

4. The waiters keep catching you staring down at the menu trying to find one thing you think you’ll like.

The fact that the menu is in a different language doesn't help. You've learned to read the menu by looking up the ingredients listed beneath each option in search of something you recognize or are willing to try. Sometimes, you'll find something that seems alright except one ingredient or two, but trying to work with the language barrier to communicate how you want you food is almost as impossible as choosing a dish in the first place.

5. You feel a rush just finding foods you recognize from back home at the grocery store.

I cannot tell you how happy I was to see Skippy Peanut Butter the other day. I don't even eat peanut butter back home, but I ended up making a peanut butter sandwich as soon as I got back to my apartment in Trastevere. My cabinets are filled with American cereals and snacks, specially chosen for those days when I can't seem to find any food that appeals to me. The idea that I might make it home without even once finding a restaurant that seems inviting while in the heart of Italy is astounding to some, but sometimes you just need something from home. Or, in my case, most days.

6. You have to get used to trying new things.

I know, it's any picky eater's worst nightmare. I've still only managed to make myself try two, maybe three new foods so far. Some ended in that pile at the edge of my plate taking over the entire dish, but other times have been (not-so-surprisingly, considering we're in Rome) very good. The temptation to order a plain, margherita pizza or a plate of pasta is just too strong some days, but on the days that I decide to take a chance, I have found foods that I will happily eat again in the coming months.

Getting used to trying new foods is undoubtably the answer to all of these problems, though not the one any picky eater is willing to hear. You don't necessarily have to become a full-on foodie, but traveling abroad can be a life-changing experience, and it shouldn't be one spent on an empty stomach. I'll probably spend the next few months picking my way through some dishes and devouring others, but at least I will be able to say I tried them. Or, at least, most of them.
Cover Image Credit: yeshotelrome

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How To Play 'New Girl's' True American Drinking Game

"It's 75% drinking, 20% Candy Land, and the floor is molten lava."

I think it's fair to say that anyone who watches New Girl knows about True American. This crazy, non-sense drinking game which pops up every so often throughout the seasons and first introduced in Season 1 Episode 20.

The game, as described by New Girl character and fan-favorite Schmidt, is 75% drinking game and 20% Candy Land with a floor of molten lava.

The point of the game is for players to navigate through the Candy Land-like spaces to the "castle," which is a table in the center of the room that holds beer "pawns" and the "king" bottle. The first person to reach and sip from the bottle wins.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things "New Girl" Fans Know to Be True

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Here's how to play:

Step #1: Prepare the "castle"

First, set up your "castle." The castle is made up of beer "pawns" and the "king," a bottle filled with the alcohol of your choice.

The bottle should be in the middle of the table, surrounded by four lines of beer pawns. There is no exact number of beers necessary for each line of beer pawns. Choose any amount of beers that seems appropriate for the amount of players.

Step #2: Set up spaces

Set up spaces using pillows, chairs or any other objects players will be able to stand on. Place an equal amount of spaces around the table. You'll want about 5-8 spaces on each side, depending on the size of the room you're playing in.

Only four of these spaces should reach the castle, lining up with the parade of beer "pawns" and allowing players to take a beer pawn from the castle. For example, in the photo above, each of the chairs touch a corner of the table at the end of the line of beer pawns. Therefore, these are two of the four special spaces that allow players to take a beer. Unlike the pillows pictured, which are just regular spaces that the players can use to move around.

Step #3: Pick teams

Teams are optional. To pick teams, all of the players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers against their forehead on the count of three.

Any players who hold up the same number are a team. Unmatched players can team up as needed or simply pair up with the person standing closest to them.

Step #4: Begin

Begin with a shotgun "tip-off" to determine which player goes first.

The winner of this shotgunning contest will yell, "One, two, three...JFK!" to announce the official beginning of the game. All players will enthusiastically respond, "FDR!" then quickly grab a beer pawn from the castle and run to any space they wish to start at, excluding for the four special spaces that reach the castle.

Step #5: Make moves

The winner of the shotgunning contest has earned the first turn. From then on, the order of turns will move in a clockwise rotation. During each turn, the player will move one space toward the castle and choose to play one of the following mini-games.

Mini-game number one: the player whose turn it is will count to three then all players will place a certain number (1-5) of fingers on their forehead. Any player who selects a number no one else selected can move ONE space.

Mini-game number two: the player whose turn it is will recite the beginning of a famous American quote. The first player to complete the quote can move TWO spaces.

Mini-game number three: the player whose turn it is will name two famous American people, places or things. The first player to identify what the two have in common can move THREE spaces.

For example, say it's your turn. You will move one space then choose one of the three mini-games. You and all of the players will participate in that game, and the winner will move accordingly. After this, your turn is over and it's the next player's turn (in the original clockwise rotation).

Step #6: "Play on, playa."

Continue playing by these rules until one lucky winner reaches the bottle and sips from its royal glass.

The bottle cannot be opened until every last pawn is removed from the castle. Any players who fail to keep at least one beer in hand, who accidentally end up with more than three beers in hand, or who touch the lava are immediately disqualified. Disqualified players can rejoin the game by shotgunning a beer.


You are now able to impress all of your New Girl-loving friends with knowledge of the workings of the epic True American drinking game. Know your limits, drink responsibly and enjoy!

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7 Healthy Foods College Students Can Eat That Aren't That Expensive

Eating healthy does not have to be expensive - it's the world telling you that.


I hear it sitting in class. I hear it on the bus. I hear it in the grocery store. "Eating healthy costs so much money."

You're right. Healthy food isn't cheap, but it doesn't have to be expensive. Your Chipotle burrito and extra queso aren't cheap either. Buying healthy food items at the store and meal-prepping is the easiest way to make healthy food cheaper, point blank. I wanted to showcase a few healthy options, along with their prices, to prove healthy options are justifiable.

1. Carrots

Organic baby carrots from Walmart are $3.40 with 10 servings. That means each serving of carrots is $0.34. Skip the $3 chip bag at the gas station and pack some carrots.

2. Bell peppers

Sweet mini peppers are SO YUMMY to snack on. They're sweet and crunchy; what more could you ask for? At Walmart, a 1 lb. bag is about $3. Yes, you can be the cool kid like me who carries around a lunch bag in college.

3. Hummus

Be careful with this one. I could eat a whole thing of hummus in one sitting, so I buy it sparingly. A container of hummus usually runs around $5, but as long as you're eating an actual serving size, it can last one to two weeks.

4. Craisins

Look for the craisins with no added sugars, or else they're bound to be loaded with sugar. These are a great snack or something to add into a trail mix or on top of oatmeal! At only $6, a bag of craisins should last you about a week and a half.

5. Fruit snacks

Again, watch the added sugars. At only $8, these come out to be about $0.25 a pack. If you can't take around an actual apple or banana, fruit snacks are the way to go.

6. Snack bars

These can get expensive. That's why you need to bulk-purchase. Snack bars are also notorious for containing too many added sugars. I always go with either KIND at $1.40 per bar or CaveMan at $1.60. MUCH better than purchasing only one at a gas station at $3-$4 a pop.

7. Veggie straws

These things are addicting, not going to lie. A bag of veggie straws with 15 servings comes out to be $0.33 per serving. Once again, if you stick with the serving size, they'll last and you'll save money.

8. Wheat thins

Wheat Thins are for grey days because they make me as happy as coffee, especially the Tomato Basil kind. With 15 servings, each serving comes out to $0.25. Want two servings? $0.50 won't break the bank.

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