Though we all want to eat healthy, we can’t get there unless we know what healthy food is. Non-healthy foods are refined and processed, made with unhealthy forms of fats and sugars and non-food chemical ingredients. If this is the kind of food that you habitually eat, you probably crave it—and it’s hard to give up foods you crave. Without giving it a second thought, you may be stuck on the idea that of course fries and a hamburger taste better than a fresh, vibrant salad. But healthy foods are super delicious, and they come in a wide variety of edibles—not just salads.
So, how can you teach yourself that healthy food is actually just as enjoyable—if not more enjoyable—as unhealthy food? You can start with these 5 tips for learning how to enjoy food that’s good to eat and good for you at the same time.
What do you think of when you think of “healthy” food? The first thing that comes to mind for many of us is a bag of kale or maybe some shredded carrots with no dressing. Not very appetizing. It’s a different story when we think of “unhealthy” food. Our minds go to candy, cookies, cake, French fries, fast food, and other things that make our mouths water. But turn this around. Healthy foods are defined by how the food is raised, harvested, and prepared. That means that any kind of healthy food—fats, proteins, and carbohydrates—can come in the form of mouthwatering meals.
#2. Try New Foods
Something else that can help make healthy foods more enjoyable is to periodically change what you eat. A lot of times, once we find something we like we tend to stick with it. But if you eat ramen three days in a row, you’ll find yourself in a rut and won’t know what to eat next. Seek out new foods, whether it’s a dish you’ve been curious about or an ingredient that’s never even crossed your mind. A peanut-curry chicken salad. Hummus and veggie chips. A raw-milk cheese and avocado sandwich. The list is endless! And the best part is, the more you experiment with new recipes and new ingredients, the more you’ll enjoy them. Before you know it, you’ll actually be craving healthy foods.
If you’re the type who grabs a freezer meal when you get home from work rather than attempt to prepare a nutritious dinner in your messy, unorganized kitchen, this tip is for you. When your kitchen is a mess and nothing is where it’s supposed to be, you don’t want to be stuck in there for any longer than necessary. This makes it extremely unlikely that you’ll make a full meal that satisfies your hungry belly. What you need to do it organize. If you take the time to clean up your cabinets, fridge, and pantry, cooking will become an easy routine. Preparing meals at home exponentially heightens the chances that you’ll eat healthfully. Once you’re organized, you should also think about investing in some key appliances, such as a blender, zester, peeler, measuring cups, and jars.
#4. Eat with Friends and Family
Eating is a social experience. Food always tastes better when you enjoy it with friends and family, so make it a priority. Invite friends over for game night and ask that they each bring a healthy component of the meal. Or invite just one friend or family member over to cook a meal together. Better yet, find someone to embark on this journey of eating healthy with you. You can share recipes, alternate hosting duties, and encourage each other to love healthy foods. Sharing the journey with someone makes it easier and more enjoyable.
#5. Make Healthy the Only Option
For a great resource on making lifestyle and dietary changes, see Trophia magazine’s premier issue, “Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health.” Featured author Paula Widish shares endless tips, tools, and ideas that she’s tested and proven over many years.
When you’re out grocery shopping, skip the middle aisles full of chips, cookies, and other processed foods—they’re no longer an option for you. (For more guidance about why and how to shop for healthy foods, get yourself a copy of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is! Guide to Health Food Shopping.) Your goal is to be healthy, so don’t even consider the possibility of eating something that will rob you of your health and vitality. Start thinking of food as fuel rather than an escape from life. Once you can do that, true hunger will replace stress-induced binge eating.
Eating healthy is a lifestyle. It’s not a diet, which is harder to maintain. Remember that your body needs to be nourished in the right ways with fuel that keeps it running and in shape. Treat your body right and learn to love the feeling of being healthy.