Who wouldn’t want a healthy diet? The problem is, a lot of times it seems like eating healthy also means stripping food of its taste and depriving the dieter of the sheer pleasure of eating. We are all encouraged to eat a high fiber low fat diet but when we go shopping for specific foods that meet the requirements for this diet, we usually end up with cardboard tasting crackers and chalky powders. Are we doomed to eat bland and non-food tasting fare if we want to eat healthy?
The average American eats a diet that is high in fat and sugar and nutritionists refer to this as “The Standard American Diet” or S.A.D. Thus many of us are used to the high fat and high sugar taste of foods such as pasta, cheese and pie. The good news is that healthy foods can also taste great with the right preparation.
Taste is a very personal thing. When it comes to food, we are very particular about what we like and what we don’t like. Don’t you notice how you prefer certain dishes over others? And how some foods evoke strong memories? Think about how certain dishes remind you of your mother’s cooking, or a certain snack that you used to eat as a gradeschooler brings back memories from that era.
As a kid in the 1970’s. my mom used to bring home take out meals from a local health food store. I loved the vegetarian quiche and mashed potatoes but hated the sprout salad with seeds and raw cabbage. To me it smelled like sulphur, bitter curry and pepper seasonings. Even to this day, whenever I am offered curry, memories from those early days come rushing back. I also never developed a fondness for sprout salad and have a very strong dislike for curry and raw cabbage.
But I didn’t leave it at that. I have discovered that if I added my own twist to sprouts, curry or cabbage, I can actually enjoy them. I have been able to do this by introducing new flavours and ingredients and preparing them in ways that are both attractive and delicious. By reading cookbooks, I was able to teach myself how to lightly steam cabbage, add a dash of curry to lean chicken and give mung beans a Chinese touch by stir-frying. The latter is now actually my favourite dish. It’s low in fat and very nutritious.
Taste preferences can change although it does take time. Until then, eat the healthy foods that you do like. You can get the 25-30 grams of fiber per day recommended by the American Dietetic Association by eating a lot of fresh ripe fruits and brightly colored vegetables. You can enjoy whole grains in the form of pasta and bread. By doing these things, you will be able to cleanse your palate and open your taste buds wide. You will find that in time things will start to taste differently and you will actually prefer the taste of health foods.
Healthy Diet Weight Loss