Eating healthy might seem easier said than done if you’re a really picky eater. It’s even more challenging if you don’t know how to spruce up the handful of foods you actually like. Below are 8 ways to make healthy eating work for you and yes, my “creature of habit” gals, I have some tips for you, too!
1. Try different cooking techniques – Most people don’t like certain healthy foods because they’re dry or tasteless after they cook them. Different cooking techniques can enhance the flavors and keep foods tender, especially with meat. Try keeping the top open on the George Foreman grill so the meat won’t dry out – use it like an open-top grill. Sauté or bake veggies in a little oil instead of steaming them. Sometimes shredded chicken is more appealing than backed chicken and a cozy crockpot meal is a nice change from cooking with a conventional oven.
2. Experiment with seasonings – Most healthy foods are a clean slate and they take on the flavor of whatever you add to them. Experiment with herbs and spices, make your own marinades or try a low-sodium store bought brand to enhance the flavor of any dish. Have you tried using savory flavors on traditionally sweet dishes? Try mixing cayenne and pineapple with chopped chicken over veggies. Or, make your quinoa sweet by seasoning it with honey and cinnamon for breakfast.
The link above has great ideas for food and spice pairings, some of which I’d never even consider but can’t wait to try!
- Beef with cayenne, curry, dill, mustard seed, oregano, paprika
- Poultry with allspice, bay leaf, ginger, dill, sage, thyme
- Fish with parsley, tarragon, marjoram, chives, dill, basil
- Fruit topped or mixed with allspice, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mint, pepper
- Rice and grains with cumin, saffron, chives, curry
3. Add fat for flavor – Moderate amounts of cheese and bacon add flavor and depth to most meals. Try sautéed kale with chopped bacon or a light sprinkle of cheese over sautéed veggies.
4. Hide veggies in meat dishes – Mix grated zucchini, carrots or broccoli into soups, casseroles, baked goods and burger patties. Even if you like a variety of veggies, you can mix them in other dishes to change the texture and boost the flavor of the overall dish. Try chopped veggies in pasta sauce or baked goods like zucchini and carrot muffins.
5. Make a smoothie – If you want to eat a certain food because it’s healthy but you don’t particularly like it, try blending it in a smoothie. You’ll hardly taste the spinach or avocado when it’s blended with your favorite fruits. I don’t like blueberries unless they’re blended in a smoothie! This is also a great tip for cutting back on food waste – don’t throw out those smushy fruits, blend them!
6. Be a creature of habit – Balanced nutrition is important but that doesn’t mean you have to eat something different for every meal. Pick 3 to 4 foods from each group – protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables – and mix and match your favorites. You don’t have to force feed foods you don’t like. Eat more of the healthy foods you do like and gradually cut back on the unhealthy ones.
7. Let the grocery store do the hard part – Grocery stores have a variety of pre-packaged healthy foods that were prepared on site. Sometimes it’s hard to get creative with your food; use the grocery store for guidance. Try their packaged veggie blends to take home and cook. Some of those mixtures even have sweet potatoes or squash so you can add your own protein or enjoy a meatless meal. Before you spend a bunch of money on foods you might not like and to save you some time from experimenting with recipes – let the grocery store do all the work!
8. Make healthy additions to the foods you already like – Add fruit to your cereal, mix blueberries in your pancakes, shred veggies over your rice. So much of the conversation about healthy eating is about what to cut out or avoid. But there are so many ways to add more to the meals you’re already eating. This is how you make healthy eating work for you.
Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to experiment with cooking techniques, seasonings and food combinations. You’ll be surprised at just how many healthy foods you actually do like when you make healthy eating work for you.
If you’re stuck and need more nutritional guidance, sign up for my Healthy Eating Without Dieting email nutrition course here.