Day 3 – Exploring New Foods

Your third day – congrats! One day at a time – and this one brings some interesting stuff.
Today we’re dealing with a big issue: what you will eat for the rest of your life 🙂 That was a joke, of course – there is plenty food out of the range of fried, fast, fat and everything else unhealthy; but this question is probably somewhere in the back of your mind, preventing you to embrace your new lifestyle with joy. Well, get ready to be surprised!

What Will You Eat?

First, let’s get one thing straight: healthy eating isn’t an all or nothing proposition; the goal of your diet, and of all this change you’re making to your life, is to develop the good habits that you will be able to maintain for life, not just for a few weeks or months. So don’t think about it as a prison – instead, think about all the new possibilities that you’re opening yourself up to!

The key to every healthy diet is in balance: much less of the unhealthy stuff (saturated fat or unrefined sugar, for example) and more of the healthy (fresh fruit and vegetables). So you can eat bacon (unless you doctor said no – that’s another thing) once a week, if you follow the bacon breakfast with a healthy lunch and dinner.

Tip: if you have to completely eliminate some food or food groups from your diet, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. That way you will reduce the craving, and won’t feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. 

So, it’s not the question of what you will eat – you will have plenty of different foods to choose from; the key is to understand that there is other food out there as well, the food that is much more beneficial to your body, and to choose to bring in more of the healthy food, and less of the unhealthy. And the options are endless!

New Food, New Tastes – You’ll Enjoy It!

healthy green food on a plateDid you know that your taste buds evolve every 5 to 7 years? It’s true; and, apart from being an interesting fact to know, it’s also great news for you. Are you guessing why?

After years of eating one sort of food (spicy, fat, salty…), you may think that you have a limited taste range, or that you only like a few vegetables and that adding the healthy food (that you’ve tried once and concluded that you don’t like it) will be a painful experience with no joy whatsoever.

Actually, evolving of your taste buds will make any food that you haven’t tried in years taste different. If, for example, your grandma used to prepare broccoli when you were a kid, and you hate broccoli ever since, try it now – it will taste completely different, you will be amazed! Besides, there are more than one way to prepare broccoli 😉

Another thing that works in your favor is that you can train your palate to enjoy new foods. According to Linda Bartoshuk, PhD, director of human research at the University of Florida Center for Smell and Taste, bringing out the sweetness of something will make it more palatable, as will adding something fatty, since your stomach has fatty acid receptors, which send a pleasing signal to your brain (of course, you should choose some good fats, like in olive oil or sesame).

Meaning that, for example, roasting broccoli to pull out its natural sugars will likely make it more enjoyable.

So, if you’re still afraid that the new foods won’t taste half as good – all you have to do is to train your palate to learn to enjoy it! And it can prove to be a great distraction from your craving for salty or spicy food: focusing on exploring all the ways you can prepare something new can be fun, and can easily make you forget you’d like to eat – hum, bacon, what was that?

Try This!

You’re now committed to go through with the new way of life, and changing your eating habits is a challenge, we know that. That’s why we have now some delicious healthy combinations for you to try. By trying new things, you add to your food collection and make the whole experience a game – you’ll be surprised to discover that healthy food can be just as tasteful, and it can be really fun to prepare. For example, you can try:

  • Grilled chicken, instead of a steak
  • Replacing normal yogurt with low-sugar coconut milk yogurt
  • Charred tomato and broccoli salad
  • Gluten-free crackers are convenient and crunchy 🙂
  • Grilled eggplant
  • Replace granola bars with raw, organic almonds
  • Grilled fish
  • Replace ice cream with a freshly made frozen dessert
  • Grilled chicken sandwich (exactly, health-ier food can be found in the fast food burger chains as well!)
  • Pure water with a squeeze of organic lemon or lime instead of diet soda

And, you know… don’t be hesitant to experiment on your own. You can make a fantastic salad of just about any vegetable available, and the lemon juice makes it taste much better than the vinegar; replacing red meat with beans, nuts, poultry, and fish shouldn’t be too difficult; if you enjoy dairy foods, switch from whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods to lower fat versions.

There are so many options to choose from – give them a try. Perhaps you won’t like something the first time you try it, but give it a few more chances. Make it a point to try two new foods each day, and keep note of what you’re eating: how it’s prepared, how you liked it… After a month, you will be amazed to see what you’re eating, and how much your taste has changed!

Tomorrow we will talk more about how you can easily learn to love new food – see you then!