Do you get cravings for ice cream and French fries, but rarely for fruits, vegetables, whole grains or other nourishing foods? Inspired by Chapter 11 of Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size, this post provides tips and tricks to change your tastes.
Eating is meant to be pleasurable. Don’t eat: die. If food wasn’t rewarding, our species may not have survived. We are especially hard-wired to enjoy foods rich in sugar, fat and salt. Food manufacturers have taken advantage of these preferences to ‘hijack’ our tastebuds. They have designed foods loaded with sugar, fat and salt, but devoid of any filling fiber, or beneficial vitamins and minerals.
Dieting may have also hijacked your tastebuds. Labeling certain foods as off-limits can make them more tempting and tasty. Likewise, resigning yourself to only ‘healthy’ foods can make them taste dull and dreary.
However, most taste preferences are learned, and with time, we can learn to love and appreciate nourishing food. By reclaiming your tastebuds, you take an important step in reclaiming your health. Read on to find out how.
Give yourself unconditional permission to eat
Telling yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t eat a particular food gives that food special powers. Forbidden fruit is alluring. Get back into the driver’s seat by giving yourself unconditional permission to eat. If you really want a particular food, eat it! Enjoy it mindfully and without guilt. This is essential to reclaiming your tastebuds and becoming an intuitive eater.
When you give yourself permission to eat a previously forbidden food, you might overindulge at first. However, with time — as you begin to realize you really can eat that food whenever you want — the threat of deprivation will disappear, and it will just become a food that you eat sometimes.
Notice how different foods make you feel
Do some foods make you feel tired and sluggish, while others make you feel satisfied and energized? When you tune in to how foods make you feel, you may start naturally gravitating towards healthier choices, no willpower required.
Try foods prepared in new ways
Perhaps you hate the taste of canned green beans, but you might like them stir fried with sesame oil and garlic. Many people who do not care for the bitter taste of vegetables enjoy them when roasted, which brings out their natural sweetness. Food should taste good. Visit allrecipes.com and find a highly-rated healthy recipe that strikes your fancy.
Satisfy your cravings in a nutritious way
There are plenty of wonderful, nutrient-rich foods available to satisfy your cravings. If you have a sweet tooth (like me!), how about ripe berries drizzled with honey, starting the morning with Fruit Custard Oatmeal, grilled peaches sprinkled with cinnamon, or Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse (recipe in my forthcoming eBook, 5-Minute Meals)? If salty/savory is more your thing, how about Grilled Vegetable Mini Pizzas or Pasta Primavera (with bacon!)?
While all foods can fit in a healthy diet, eating well helps you to feel your best. Learning to love food that makes you feel great can be a richly rewarding experience.