One of the most common goals for many of us, beginning of the new year or not, is to start “eating healthy.” Unfortunately, for those of us who don’t enjoy the usual healthy foods or are simply picky eater that’s easier said than done. Whether you have the taste palate of a toddler or are simply uninspired by healthy food, a few simple tricks could help you on your way to healthier eating.
Health food doesn’t have to make you feel deprived and it can be really inexpensive, easy and quick to whip up. To make healthy eating a lasting habit, start with small, simple changes and try new ways of thinking about eating.
Here are a few tips:
Combine Healthy Foods with your Favourite Foods
One trick most parents of fussy eaters have tried is hiding veggies in other, usually sweet, foods. This ‘trick’ doesn’t always work though, as I still can’t get over finding white fish mixed in with my rice when I was a kid!
- Kale is one of the so-called superfoods that although might not agree with your tastebuds on its own, tastes amazing when paired with bacon or sausage.
- Moderate amounts of cheese can also transform a dish, or why not try a reduced fat version.
- One study recently showed that topping a burger with an avocado can decrease the inflammatory effects of the red meat and it tastes great too!
- Combining broccoli with mustard not only makes the vegetable taste better, but it could also help boost the nutritional value.
- Spreading out vegetables in a dish of pasta or grains can make the taste of them less offensive to some people. Also, instead of going with the typical tomato sauce, why not try pesto or a yogurt marinade.
- Even if you hate cooking, a smoothie is not only quick but can also be as nutritionally complete as a meal. You may not like spinach in it’s raw form, but put it in a smoothie, combined with other fruits and vegetables and you won’t even know it’s there.
- Some people don’t like healthy foods because they can seem bland. To solve that problem, firstly buy better quality foods; the fresher the better, which is why we like farmer’s markets. Then go ahead and spice up that dish with your favorite flavours. Besides salt and pepper, consider other meal enhancers like chili sauce, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, salsa, teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, garlic and so on.
Experiment with your Food
Up until a few years ago I was convinced I hated eggs, but now they are one of my favourite foods. The reason? I discovered that there’s a world beyond scrambled eggs and omelets, which were the only egg recipes I’d ever tried. So, why not try taking a food you think you don’t like and cooking it in a different way.
- Roasted cauliflower or broccoli, instead of steamed or boiled, is a revelation. Seriously, try it if you haven’t yet.
- Instead of canned vegetables, which are mushy and look like they’ve already been chewed ten times, try fresh or frozen. Frozen vegetables are sometimes nutritionally better for you than fresh ones.
- You might not like certain types of fish or seafood, for example the oiliness of salmon or the brininess of oysters, but there are many others you can try, such as the more mild white fishes, including tilapia.
- Kale crisps are surprisingly similar in taste to other, less nutritious crisps; even my daughter, who is one of the fussiest eaters I know, eats them.
- Sometimes the brand matters. Campbell’s butternut squash soup tastes completely different than the one from Heinz.
- Some people swear by a juicer, claiming that it has transformed their relationship with vegetables, including ones they’ve previously hated. Have a go. You can make fresh juice with a food processor too.
- If vegetables taste too intense to you, try the baby versions e.g., baby carrots, whose flavors haven’t intensified yet and are much sweeter.
Read our article ‘Healthy Meal Plans 2016’ for more helpful advice about how to make your diet as healthy as you possibly can.