Adopting healthy eating habits can seem like a daunting task, especially if you don't like healthy foods. Nevertheless, it's easy to prepare nutritious meals without sacrificing taste, even where the most finicky eaters are concerned.
Here are five tips to help you take control over your eating habits, without sacrificing pleasure or taste.
1. Instead of cutting foods out of your diet, add others into it
We often think of eating healthy as avoiding the foods we love. But eliminating your favourite dishes altogether will quickly make you go back to your old habits. Instead of cutting foods out of your diet, make a habit of adding healthy ingredients to your recipes.
Can't begin the day without eating toast with butter? Enjoy it with a small glass of vegetable juice or a smoothie. Love having pizza for dinner? Use vegetables as toppings, or eat the pizza with a side of green salad. Add grilled vegetables or trade classic toppings for healthier choices.
With time, your body will develop a taste for healthy foods and you'll want to eat more of them! You'll make healthier choices without even realizing it!
2. Enjoy flavour
One of the most enduring misconceptions about healthy foods is that they taste bland. Nothing could be further from the truth! All you need is a few spices or seasoning to instantly turn an ordinary dish into a delicious meal.
In addition to salt and pepper, rely on spices like smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, chili powder and cinnamon. Avoid store-bought sauces and dressings, as they often contain a lot of added sugar and salt. Use natural seasonings such as garlic, olives, dried tomatoes or ginger.
3. Use different preparation and cooking methods
If you think you hate a food, it's probably because you've always cooked it the same way. Hate steamed sprouts? Roast them in the oven, or slice them up and add them to a salad. Does boiled broccoli make you feel nauseated? Roast it with a bit of oil and a few spices. Tired of eating spinach salad? Saute spinach with a bit of garlic.
By using various cooking and preparation methods, you'll not only learn new ways to cook, you might also fall in love with ingredients you thought you hated.
4. Reinvent your desserts
Have a sweet tooth and can't say no to dessert? There are many healthy dessert options that will satisfy your sugar cravings.
First, rely on homemade desserts instead of store-bought ones. When you cook for yourself, you know what goes into your food and you can control the quantities and use better ingredients.
Experiment with raw desserts made with cashews, brownies made with black beans, ice cream made with bananas or fudge made with dates. And think of throwing in some superfoods into your dessert recipes to increase their nutritional value. Keep an open mind - you'll be surprised how tasty eating healthy can be!
5. Focus on taking small steps
The key to success for long-lasting changes (and to really develop a liking for eating healthy) is to take baby steps. Changing all your eating habits overnight is counterproductive. Aim for small, simple changes that won't completely disrupt your habits, but will produce positive results in the long run.
If you usually drink three sodas a day, start by reducing that number to two. Once you get used to two, it'll be easier to reduce your daily soda intake to one serving or to cut it out of your diet completely.
Don't get discouraged if you have setbacks - they're completely normal. Don't forget to reward your efforts. And, most importantly, have fun by experimenting and discovering new ways to prepare your food!