Eating healthy can seem daunting, at times overwhelming, and perhaps, even a bit scary. Learning how to love healthy, nutritious food is the only real way you'll be able to add it into your daily routine - and enjoy it!
Healthy foods are considered to be real, whole foods, which have been minimally (if any) processed. Their nutritional profile has been intact and you're able to enjoy their full range of macro and micronutrients. These include colorful fruit and vegetables, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, and seeds, beans and legumes, as well as fish and lean meat.
Some people believe that eating healthy lacks flavor, and usually this problem happens for two reasons:
- The person doesn't know how to prepare foods in the best way.
- The person is used to highly processed foods which tend to be artificially filled with enhanced flavor which makes real foods bland in comparison.
Luckily, both of these situations can be corrected with proper food preparation and care. Here are some of our favorite ways to turn healthy foods into your preferred choice!
8 Ways To Love Healthy Foods
1. Take it Slow
First and foremost, you have to take things slowly. It's almost impossible to completely ditch your favorite fast food staple and switch it up for a healthy version hoping you'll immediately fall in love with it. Keep your expectations on the lower side and give yourself time to learn about healthy food and what it entails.
Your taste buds need some adjusting too, especially to a lack of artificial chemicals they've been exposed to for quite some time. This isn't something you can rush, so take it slowly and trust the process.
Start with switching up your favorite creamer with a low-sugar alternative, make your own dressing instead of getting store-bought, or get a healthier chocolate made with only a few ingredients instead of one that's artificially flavored. Start small and take it step by step. This way you're more likely to succeed and keep a positive mindset.
2. Pair Healthy Foods With Something Less Healthy
No one says you have to completely stop eating less healthy foods. As a matter of fact, you can use them to your advantage and pair them up with healthy foods you have yet to learn to like.
Don't really care for cucumbers? Add them on top of your favorite pizza. Don't know what to do with carrots? Slice them up and let them add an extra crunch to your delicious burger. Beets? Grill them and blend them into your hummus. So many ideas - all you have to do is get creative.
3. Use Herbs and Spices
Enhance the flavor of real, healthy foods with a variety of herbs and spices which can turn a regular vegetable risotto into a restaurant-worthy dish. Depending on which cuisine you're aiming for, choose the spices which are connected to the part of the world, and don't restrain yourself.
Be bold with herbs and spices and give your food that flavor kicks it needs to wake up your taste buds and help them send happy signals into your brain.
4. Make It Yourself
Tied into tip no.3, healthy food will taste better when you fully invest yourself in it. There's nothing wrong with ordering takeout, but learning how to get the best out of each ingredient will create an emotional connection you're not even aware of. This way you'll be cooking "from the heart" and the food will taste ten times better.
Whether you try to make a recipe from a cookbook, follow a YouTube video, find an interesting article, check out that famous food blog, or simply play it by ear, getting "down and dirty" with your ingredients will make cooking, and consequently healthy eating, much more pleasurable.
5. Have a Positive Mindset
If you're dreading your healthy food options before you've even put them in your mouth, the chances of actually liking their taste will drop significantly. Having a positive mindset will help you boost your dopamine levels and create a more open, likable environment.
A positive outlook will always have higher chances of success, so pay attention to what you can control and give healthy food a chance.
6. Take it Day by Day
If you really can't stomach Brussel sprouts, put them aside and try again later, or try making them in a different way. The more you try, the better you'll adapt, and the more you'll be inclined to eat new foods. Every day is going to be different so allow yourself to eat to your satisfaction without forcing food down your throat.
However, if you really feel like a specific ingredient simply doesn't sit well with you, put it on the discard pile. Everyone has foods they dislike, healthy or not!
7. Play With Variety
Different foods have different flavor profiles, textures, preparation techniques, and ways they can be used. If you don't like raw carrots, try grilling them or blending them into a creamy soup. If you don't like the taste of blanched asparagus, add them into your frittata or turn them into a healthy dip.
Just because you don't like a certain healthy ingredient done in one way doesn't mean you won't like it prepared in a different way or combined with another ingredient. Play with variety and allow yourself to explore everything eating healthy has to offer.
8. Cook For Someone Else
Another great way to fall in love with healthy foods is to try making them for someone you love. This way, you'll be motivated to make something delicious and through the process, make cooking fun and exciting.
You can even cook together. This will create a new, wonderful connection with the person you're cooking with. It's no coincidence that the famous idiom says how "love goes through the stomach."
Healthy eating and choosing healthier foods doesn't have to be a dreadful task. Follow these tips and fall in love with whatever is on your plate.