The Top 10 Most Unhealthy Foods

There are plenty of unhealthy foods filling the aisles of our supermarkets, but some of them are worse than others. Find out which foods make my Top 10 Most Unhealthy Foods list!

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#1- Microwave Popcorn

Microwave popcorn is packed with transfats, which are bad for your heart!  On top of that, when they come with butter flavor, that flavoring usually includes Diacetyl, a chemical that can break down the layer of cells that protects out brains!

The good news is that you don’t have to give up popcorn completely.  Make it at home on the stove top with olive oil, or popped in an air popper– you can add your own toppings for flavor while knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your body!

 

#2- Chicken Nuggets

Even those made with organic or hormone-free chicken aren’t free from dangerous ingredients.  Diglycerides, Carrageenan, and the colorant red #40 are all common ingredients in chicken nuggets, even those that you buy from the deli counter at your supermarket!  They help to preserve the nuggets and to give them the right color.  Not good.

Instead, try making your own chicken nuggets at home!  Use organic chicken breast dipped in egg and flour with seasonings.  Bake them in the oven and you’re done! It’s an easy meal to make in batches (you can freeze them!) so consider prepping several servings ahead of time to make it easier to eat this healthy version!

 

#3- Cereal

Specifically we’re talking about the sugar-packed cereals that so many of us adored as kids.   Besides just the refined carbs and huge amounts of unhealthy sugar present in these cereals, many of the biggest and most popular brands contain even more dangerout ingredients:  BHT and BHA, which are illegal in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and most of Europe.

Make sure you’re checking the labels of any cereal you buy carefully, or alternatively, give up cereal altogether for more healthy options like oatmeal!

 

#4- Processed Meats

Ham, lunch meat, processed bacon, hotdogs– These are common food items in most families, but they probably shouldn’t be.  Many processed meats contain nitrates, which block the body’s ability to process sugar properly (which is a risk factor for diabetes).  Most processed meats are also extremely high in sodium, which is an area that most of us already need to make some cuts.

When shopping for meat items, especially lunch meats, look for items that are nitrate-free or low sodium.  Additionally, try buying larger cuts of meat that can be prepped in a slow cooker for use in the place of sandwich or breakfast meats.

 

#5- Energy Drinks

These guys pack huge doses of caffeine, and are also notorious for containing large amounts of sucrose and glucose.  These drinks have been proven to be 11% more corrosive to your teeth than a regular soda!  Some energy drinks are even packaged to be healthy, but it’s important to note that they’re often even worse in sugar and chemical content than most sodas.

Opt for an organic juice, tea, or coffee if you’ve got a craving for a perky drink!

 

#6- Farmed Salmon

You know that salmon is a superfood that brings tons of health benefits to the table, but it’s a very specific kind of salmon that you want to eat– farmed salmon is NOT the one you’re looking for.  Farmed salmon comes from the Atlantic (there are no wild salmon in the atlantic so don’t let labels fool you!) and is packed full of Omega 6s, which cause inflammation.  Farmed salmon are usually dyed pink and can also contain large amounts of cancer-causing PCBs, and they’re low in vitamin D, compared to their wild-caught cousins.

 

#7- Canned Soup

While soup can seem innocent enough, and appeal to anyone on a budget, canned soups often contain Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), which increases your appetite while you eat and also can cause migraines!  On top of that, most canned soups are actually sodium bombs, which is something we all need to avoid.

Try making a big batch of soup and freezing it into small portions.  Do this with a few types of soup that you like and soon enough you’ll be able to go to the freezer for a single serving of whatever soup you like without all of the prep work!

#8- Macaroni and Cheese

In theory, eating pasta with cheese is fine, but you need to make it yourself.  The color of the cheese mix in the boxed mac and cheese from the supermarket aren’t naturally ocurring colors– they’re from yellow 5 and 6 dyes!  These dyes are suspected of causing attention deficit issues in children (the biggest fans ever of mac and cheese, right?), and they’ve been found to cause cancer in animals.  Many of those dyes are used for heavy industrial purposes too, such as coating floors or in lice-killing shampoo.  Not something we want to consume, right?

Instead, buy an organic brand that doesn’t includ any colorants, or make it yourself from your own pasta and cheese at home!

 

#9- Soy Veggie Burgers

You might think you’re being healthy by skipping the meat and eating a soy product, but NOPE.  Most soy burgers are made of genetically modified soy produced in China, and they’re treated with an explosive chemical called hexane.  No thanks.

Instead, try making your own burgers out of quinoa, black beans, or other grains or veggies.  There are tons of options out there to suit whatever ingredient calls your name.

 

#10- Cheetos

While plenty of chips qualify for this list, cheetos are a special type of villain in the chip world.  Besides containt artificial coloring and MSG, they are literally engineered to make you overeat!  The satisfying crunch they produce while being eaten has been proven to have a psychological effect on our brains that causes us to find them more delicious than they actually are.  The texture they have that tends to melt in your mouth also plays a trick on our brains– it makes us think we haven’t eaten as much as we really have.  Cheetos are a recipe for diet disaster and should be avoided.

Instead, have some cheese with crackers– you’ll get the cheese flavor AND a satisfying crunch, if those are the things you’re craving!

 

Are any of these unhealthy foods on your shopping list?

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Avoados and Weight Loss– What’s the Connection?

We all know that avocado is a delicious superfood that’s gained quite a bit of popularity over the last few years, but do you know why?  They’re great for weight loss!  While they have fat and a fairly high calorie count for a fruit, they’re a great food to add to your diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight!  Keep reading to learn why!

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Avocados have been found to lower LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad one!), because it’s high in monounsaturated fat (the good kind!).  High LDL cholesterol is a factor in insulin resistance, excess weight, and obesity.  Kill all those birds with the same stone by adding avocados to your daily diet!

 

Avocado oil, which has a slightly nutty flavor, has a higher smoke point than olive oil but has almost the exact same nutritional profile!  Making this switch will help you to eat more monounsaturated fats, and it’s  been found that diets packed with monounsaturated fats actually prevent fat distribution around the belly area by regulating the expression of certain fat genes!

 

If you’re eating lots of veggies but not enough monunsaturated fats with them, you won’t be able to absorb all of the caratenoids (disease-fighting compounds) that veggies can contribute to your diet!  By adding olive oil and especially avocado or avocado oil, you’ll be making the right combination to help your body take full advantage of all of the other nutrients on your plate, too!

 

Avocado has also been labeled as a hunger-killer– just half of an avocado added to your lunch will make your 40% less likely to have the munchies a few hours later.  The satiety that avocados offer comes from their creamy texture, their healthy fats, and their great combo of vitamins and nutrients.  Make sure you’re popping an avocado half in your lunch each day to keep yourself from mindless snacking or overeating in the afternoons!

 

So, if you’re looking to lower your bad cholesterol, turn off your body’s fat genes, and knock off bad snacking habits, avocados have got your back!  Try adding them on top of toast, in salads, or even by themselves!  They’re easy to pack as they come in their own skin, and they’re easy to add to hummus or make guacamole with.  Because it’s such a popular superfood right now, there’s no shortage to the recipes out there on how to add it to your diet in a variety of ways, so no excuses!

 

How do you like to eat your avocados?

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Top 4 Workplace Diet Tips

Changing your diet habits can be tough stuff, especially when you have to eat away from home!  Staying on track while managing social lunches, boredom, and energy drain at work can be the biggest challenge, but there are ways to get around those issues!  Check out the tips below to help you manage your diet while at work!

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Pack your lunch and snacks.

It sounds like a no-brainer, but you won’t believe how many people try to make their diet work while going to the same rotation of lunch spots with their co-workers.  Honestly, there are only so many days in a row that you can eat a chef salad at lunch, and that’s if you’re lucky enough to find a spot that offers one in the first place!  Packing your lunch will help you save a ton of money, which worst case scenario helps you pay for higher quality food products, best case scenario you save for a vacation or go shopping for clothes!  Besides saving money, you’ll be able to eat exactly what you need to eat when you need to eat it!

It’s not as hard as it might sound, at first.  #MealPrepping is an entire (and beautiful) hashtag on instagram where you can get inspiration on how to prepare all your lunches for the week at the same time!  While you’re at it, prep snacks (think carrots and celery, hummus, yogurt, small salads or fruit salads, cheese cubes– the list of possibilities is huge!) that will keep you from wandering to the vending machine.

 

Drink lots of water.

Especially while we’re working, we often feel bored or thirsty and mistake it for hunger!  If you’re getting the munchies but you know it’s not time for a snack yet, have a glass of water.  You can take a bottle with you to make infused water if you like flavors, or you can even brew cold teas to take with you!  Of course, if it’s hot, have a coffee or a tea here and there, but the point is to stay hydrated and to give yourself a chance to fix your munchies issue before diving into another plate of food!

 

Treat yourself.

While you don’t want to go overboard with treating yourself, you don’t want to go overboard on your strict diet either!  Decide on one day per week where you can treat yourself with something– a lunch out with your coworkers, a snack from the vending machine, a soda after lunch– but only once per week!  And of course, if you’re really on track and don’t want to invite temptation back into your life, treat yourself with something else– a lunch time manicure, lunch in the park instead of in your office, or something else that you can look forward to every week.  Use it to reward yourself for sticking to your diet each week!

 

Find a partner.

There’s probably someone else in your office that’s dieting, too.  Or maybe one of your teammates wants to start bringing their lunch too but they don’t want to eat lunch alone every day.  Find your people!  Talk to them about eating lunch together in the office a few times per week (or every day, or once per week, whatever floats your boats).  That way you won’t feel antisocial or alone at lunch every day and you’ll even have someone to trade tips with and chat with over lunch!  You could even work together to bring different snacks each day– you just pack two of whatever you’d take for yourself, and she packs two of whatever she was bringing for her!  Basically, find a way to make the diet scene at your office less lonely.  It’s always easier to stay on track with something when you enjoy it, so find ways to make your diet easy to follow and enjoyable!

 

What are your top tips for following your diet in the workplace?

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Healthy Fats are Key to a Good Diet

Everybody is worried about fat– body fat as well as fat in our food!  It’s only natural that we begin to see fat as a bad thing.  We’ve been told to avoid it at all costs, after all.  Many products come in a low-fat option and television commercials are constantly convincing us to buy the newest supplement or workout program to burn fat fast!  It’s important to remember, though, that we need fat in our diet!  Continue reading to see what types of healthy fat you should be including in your diet!

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The truth is that not all fats are created equally.  We’ve villified fat in our culture to a point that many of us have cut TOO MUCH fat out of our diets!  So how can you know which fats should be on your table and which fats you should be avoiding?

The simple way to remember it is that Trans fats are bad and should be avoided, Mono- and Poly-unsaturated fats are good, and saturated fats are up for debate.

While we’re recommended to consume a very small amount of fat, the problem is that all fats are being lumped into one category here, but all fats aren’t the same.  Of course we want to cut trans fats out of our diets, but we definitely want to keep Omega-3 fats, and in fact most people need to be consuming more of them!  Check out these five sources of healthy fats that you can include in your diet to round out your nutrition!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with protein, vitamin E, and fiber, these guys bring even more good stuff to the table– they’re rich in monounsaturated fats (the good kind!).  Try adding half an avocado per day to your diet– they’re easy to add to salads, sandwiches, and wraps and also make a great soup or chili topping!  They can go on top of toast or be eating solo, too!

 

Dark Chocolate

The saturated fats in dark chocolate will help you to slow your digestion and feel less hungry!  On top of that, it’s packed with antioxidants that fight free radical damage.  A few ounces per day is all you need! Eat it as a snack between meals or add it to your oatmeal or yogurt in the morning!

 

Whole Eggs

If you’ve only been eating egg whites, listen up!  While the whites are solid proteins, the yolk of the egg contains fat and cholesterol.  However, most of those fats in the yolk are monounsaturated, and the overall fat profile of the egg yolk has been found to actually REDUCE LDL (bad cholesterol)!  On top of that, eggs are the top dietary source of choline, a nutrient that shuts down the genes that cause us to store fat around our liver.

 

Salmon

By adding two servings of wild salmon to your diet each week, you’ll be getting the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids that will help to protect your heart!  Try it as a main, a salad topping, or in a sandwich or wrap!  Just make sure you’re buying wild caught salmon, as farmed atlantic salmon does not have the same healthy qualities!

 

Olive Oil

This oil is packed with polyphenols, which are great for fighting cancer risk!  They contain adiponectin, a hormone that breaks down fat!  Extra virgin olive oil has also been proven to increase blood levels of serotonin, which helps us to feel fuller faster and avoid overeating!

 

What healthy fats do you try to work into your diet each week?

 


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Top Foods To Improve Brain Function

We all need our brains to work quickly!  Work, parenting, and enjoying our hobbies or social events all require a fast-working brain!  How can you make sure your brain is in great shape?  One of the best ways to care for your brain is to eat foods that improve brain function!

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Coldwater Fish

Try eating 3-4 servings of coldwater fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) throughout the week, as the FDA suggests.  EPA and DHA fats are contained in these fish, and they’re in their ready-made form, making it easy for our bodies to digest them and put them to use right away!  These fats are important for healthy brain functioning and for protecting our joints, so eat up!

 

Tomatoes

One of their super ingredients, lycopene, has been found to fight the free radical damage that occurs at the onset of dementia, so make sure you’re adding tomatoes to your diet where you can — salads, soups, and sandwhiches are great places to start!

 

Broccoli

This vegetable is a great source of Vitamin K, which helps improve brain functioning, so make sure you’re packing it into your meals!  Try it roasted, grilled, raw, or grated into meatballs, soups, and salads!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocadoes are great for helping to maintain a healthy bloodflow in your body.  Your brain will reap the benefits of a healthy bloodflow, and they also lower blood pressure! Try adding olive oil to your dishes that contain avocadoes– they pair well together and you’ll get double the boost of monounsaturated fats, which studies have shown to actually slow brain aging!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties which make it a must in your healthy-brain diet!  It contains natural stimulants which will help your brain to focus on the task at hand, and it stimulates endorphin production, which will help to regulate your mood in a healthy way!

 

 

What are your favorite brain-healthy foods?  How will you try to incorporate these into your current food habits?

Find out which foods you should be including in your diet to improve brain function!

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Tops Foods To Improve Brain Function

We all need our brains to work quickly!  Work, parenting, and enjoying our hobbies or social events all require a fast-working brain!  How can you make sure your brain is in great shape?  One of the best ways to care for your brain is to eat foods that improve brain function!

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Coldwater Fish

Try eating 3-4 servings of coldwater fish (tuna, salmon, etc.) throughout the week, as the FDA suggests.  EPA and DHA fats are contained in these fish, and they’re in their ready-made form, making it easy for our bodies to digest them and put them to use right away!  These fats are important for healthy brain functioning and for protecting our joints, so eat up!

 

Tomatoes

One of their super ingredients, lycopene, has been found to fight the free radical damage that occurs at the onset of dementia, so make sure you’re adding tomatoes to your diet where you can — salads, soups, and sandwhiches are great places to start!

 

Broccoli

This vegetable is a great source of Vitamin K, which helps improve brain functioning, so make sure you’re packing it into your meals!  Try it roasted, grilled, raw, or grated into meatballs, soups, and salads!

 

Avocadoes

Packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, avocadoes are great for helping to maintain a healthy bloodflow in your body.  Your brain will reap the benefits of a healthy bloodflow, and they also lower blood pressure! Try adding olive oil to your dishes that contain avocadoes– they pair well together and you’ll get double the boost of monounsaturated fats, which studies have shown to actually slow brain aging!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark Chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties which make it a must in your healthy-brain diet!  It contains natural stimulants which will help your brain to focus on the task at hand, and it stimulates endorphin production, which will help to regulate your mood in a healthy way!

 

 

What are your favorite brain-healthy foods?  How will you try to incorporate these into your current food habits?

Find out which foods you should be including in your diet to improve brain function!

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Top 5 Clean Eating Mistakes

Clean eating has become increasingly popular over the last few years, and for good reasons!  It’s a great way to cut out the junk that comes with processed foods, and it helps boost the amount of nutrients in our diets!  But there are a few mistakes that litter the path to clean eating.  Make sure you know how to avoid them!

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Juicing

It’s so so popular, and everyone wants a vitamix, but watch out for juices!  Because most of the calories come from sugar, your body won’t process it quite the same way as it would a piece of fruit.  On top of that, when drinking your fruits via juice, you’re missing out on important opportunities to fulfill your fiber needs for the day! Limit your juice intake to make the most of those calories!

Fruit Binges

While fruit is healthy and a great way to get lots of nutrients, eating too much of it can trigger your blood sugar and set off your hunger signals, causing you to eat too much fruit in one sitting or to go out and seek for something to eat right.this.second.  Make sure you’re getting your daily requirements for fruit, but don’t eat 3 oranges in one sitting! Pair your fruit with a few slices of cheese or some nuts to help stabilize your bloog sugar!

Snack Time

If you’re focused on clean eating, don’t let snacktime derail your hard work!  Make sure your snacks are just as balanced as your meals– a bit of fiber, a bit of protein, a bit of fat, etc.  This will help you really feel satiated when you’ve finished the snack, and you won’t go on a kitchen raid to find the next snack to start on!

Processed Foods

Even if you’ve cut out the boxed mac and cheese with that neon powder, you might still be relying too much on processed foods.  Try to eat as little as possible from bags, boxes, cans, and jars.  Buy whole food ingredients and set aside time to meal prep at the beginning of each week.  This will help you avoid the excuse of convenience that leads most of us to pick up highly processed foods at the supermarket!

 

Overeating

Just because you are eating whole and clean foods doesn’t mean you can overeat!  Many people think that because they’re eating healthy foods, they can eat more than they used to put on their plate.  The truth is that even with your organic chicken and your spinach and carrots and apples, you’ve got to stay in control of your portions!  Don’t throw caution to the wind and binge (although to be fair, a binge on apples is much less severe than a binge on donuts!) just because your food is healthy.  Limits are good for everything, even for clean food.

 

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to clean eating?

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Top 5 Foods To Improve Your Memory

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

We know that there are certain foods that help certain parts of our body, but there are also specific foods that are great for our brains!  Read the list below to find out 5 great foods that will improve your memory!

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Avocados

This fruit is such an amazing food, especially for your brain!  They often get the bad reputation of having a high fat content, but it’s important to remember that the fat contained in avocados is the good fat (monosaturated!), which happens to be amazing for your brain!  It’s also great to for healthy glowing skin and for stabilizing your blood sugar levels!  Because they contain vitamin K and folate, they’re also great at preventing blood clots in the brain and improving cognitive functioning (key to memory!).  On top of all that, they’re rich in Vitamins B and C, which your body doesn’t store and thus must replace daily!  Try it smashed on toast, in your smoothies, or on top of a salad!

 

Broccoli

Even if it’s not your favorite vegetable, this veggie is so versatile that it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll find a way to enjoy it.  It’s high in vitamin K and choline, which are great for boosting your memory.  It’s also packed with vitamin C!  Eat it raw as a snack or in your salad, roast or grill it with other veggies, toss it in a stirfry, grate it into meatballs– the possibilities with broccoli are truly endless!

 

Dark Chocolate

Put that snickers down and listen up!  Dark chocolate is full of flavanols, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  They help lower blood pressure levels and improve blood flow to the brain and the heart.  The rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the better.  Opt for a minimum of 70% cacao to get their full benefit!

 

Salmon

Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your brain and thus, your memory!  Be aware that the health benefits of salmon apply to wild-caught Alaskan salmon, not farmed salmon.  A filet of salmon is a super versatile ingredient– broil it, pan fry it, put it into croquettes, serve it in a salad or in pasta– there are a ton of ways to enjoy a healthy piece of salmon, and you should aim to have 3-4 servings of fish per week anyway!

 

Beets

 

One of the easiest veggies to prepare (literally boil them until they’re soft), these guys are literally crammed with nutrients!  They reduce inflammation and are packed with cancer-preventing antioxidants.  On top of that, they’re packed with nitrates that help boost the flow of blood to the brain, which will absolutely boost your memory!  Add them to your salads or eat them as a side dish to get their benefits!

 

What foods are you trying to include in your diet to benefit your brain?

Find out which foods to include in your diet to improve your memory!

 

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Top 7 Breakfast Ideas for Gym Goers

The best breakfast ideas for morning workouts!

Going to the gym early in the morning has plenty of benefits– it helps you mark off the gym from your to-do list instead of procrastinating, it gives you an early dose of feel-good endorphins, and can help you feel more alert and energetic for the rest of the day.  But if you wake up early to go to the gym, what should you eat for breakfast?

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Yogurt Parfait

It looks fancy, but it will take you less than two minutes to put your greek yogurt, berries, and granola in a cup! It’s a quick breakfast with a bit of protein and natural sugar and carbs to get your body ready to run!

 

High-Protein Oatmeal

Your body will need the carbs and the protein to power you through a high-intensity workout, so make your oatmeal the way you like it, but add nuts and the nut butter of your choice!  This will help to fuel your body throughout your workout and after, and you won’t feel lightheaded or dizzy while pumping iron in the morning!

 

Protein Smoothie

 

If you don’t have much of an appetite in the mornings but you KNOW you need to kickstart your metabolism for the day, try having a protein smoothie.  It can be as simple (milk, greek yogurt, protein powder, fruit) or as complicated as you want to make it, but get some calories in you!  Better yet, start your day with a good dose of protein to make the most of the exercise you’re about to do!

 

Apples and Peanut Butter

It won’t take you but 2 minutes to put together, but it will stay with you throughout your workout.  Slice an apple and top each slice with some peanut butter, raisins, chia seeds, or other chopped seeds or nuts that you like to add to your dishes.  This can be eaten on the run, too, if you have room in your gym bag for a food container!

 

Avocado and Egg Toast

If you boil your eggs ahead of time, this breakfast will take about as long as it takes to toast your bread!  Mash your avocado on top of your toast and slice your hardboiled egg on top.  You can add salt or pepper, paprika, olive oil, sri racha, or whatever else you’d like on top to boost the flavor level of your breakfast!  The healthy fats of avocado, complete protein of the egg, and the healthy carbs in your whole grain toast are the winning combination for a healthy breakfast!

 

Omelette

Eggs are always cheap and fast to cook.  Throw in a bit of leftover protein from last night’s dinner, any veggies you might like to include, and tada!  Full of protein and a great vehicle for other ingredients, omelettes are a great breakfast to get your  day started with, especially if you need a protein fix after a workout!

 

Freezer-Friendly Prepped Breakfasts

You can make tons of options ahead of time and then freeze them, ensuring that you always have something healthy that’s ready to go when you are!  Bacon, egg, and broccoli cups made in muffin tins are a great option!  Turkey and egg breakfast sandwiches are a classic, and breakfast burritos with your favorite proteins are popular, too!  In one sitting, you could easily prepare breakfast for 2 weeks if you take the meal-prepping + freezer route!

 

What’s your favorite pre- or post- gym breakfast?

The best breakfast ideas for morning workouts!

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5 Steps to Changing Your Taste Buds

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

Taste is one of our most important senses, and it can get us in trouble if we have cravings for certain tastes!  Potato chips, chocolate, or sugar– the list of tastes we love (but that are actually bad for us) goes on and on!  But did you know that you can CHANGE your taste buds?  I’m serious!  Use these five steps to reprogram your taste buds to keep you from craving foods that will derail your progress!

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Fight the Addiction.

Addiction?  What addiction?  Let me tell you:  science says that the serious overdoses of sugar and fat in our diet are addictive to our taste buds, and that they also dull them!  That means that you’ll crave those tastes but constantly need more and more to get your fix, and you might not be able to register new tastes as they actually are.  So step 1 to changing your taste buds is to make a serious commitment to swearing off large amounts of these ingredients.  You don’t have to go cold turkey!  Try weaning yourself off of them and finding enjoyable replacements for fatty or sugary foods and drinks.  Over time, it will get easier to avoid (but warning: you might pass a couple of grumpy days as your body and brain adjusts!).

Try it Again and Again.

It can be difficult to try foods that we’re sure we don’t like, but it’s an important step in reprogramming your taste buds.  If you have bad memories of hating broccoli as a child, maybe it’s time to try it again.  And if you find that you don’t like it, you’re not done!  Try it with a minimum of 2 ways of preparation:  Maybe you don’t like sauteed broccoli, but you might like it roasted, in a creamy soup, or raw in a salad.  Sometimes we think we don’t like the taste of something when really it’s the texture.  When it comes to vegetables, texture can change so much just by cooking ingredients differently.  Set a goal to try 3 foods each week that you normally don’t eat.  Kale, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, broccoli, mushrooms, and lentils might be a great place to start, but go with what will work for your personally!

 

Trick your Brain!

If you’re still not a fan of something that you KNOW you should be including in your diet, try and pair it with something that you do like.  For example, if you’re still not a fan of brussel sprouts, try sprinkling them with parmesan cheese after cooking.  At first you’re just masking the taste a bit, but you’re brain will start to associate BOTH tastes with happy feelings instead of just the cheese.  After trying this magical combo a few times together, you’re likely to find that brussel sprouts are a new dish in your regular rotation!

Become a Mouth Breather.

A big part of our sense of taste comes from our nose (shocking, right?), so sometimes you may think you don’t like the taste of something, but what you actually don’t like is the smell!  Quite a few vegetables have scents that are different from their actual tastes, but if you’re smelling it in front of your mouth for 15 seconds while you debate whether you’re going to eat it or not, all you ever get is the disagreeable smell.  Take stinky vegetables and try boiling or roasting them to help remove the sulfurous compounds that cause their odors.  Another good tip?  Your sense of smell is weakest in the evening, so save dinner for the time of day when you get wild and adventurous with new and healthy foods. Try to avoid taking huge whiffs of food before taking a bite if you know it’s a food that you have a complicated past with.

 

Spice Things Up!

If you’re really craving salty, fatty, or sugary flavors but you’re being so so good by avoiding them, try to keep your mouth entertained with other flavors!  Soy sauce, chili pepper, sri racha, vinegar (and all of its variants!  Rice vinegar is a great and interesting taste to add depth to stirfrys, for example), mustard, lemon, and fresh herbs are all great ways to create interesting tastes that will liven up any pot of green beans or lentils!

Make Small Changes

If you consider yourself a really picky eater, this is an important step to consider.  If you’re a fan of butter, don’t drop straight into dark olive oil– try a lighter one to ease yourself into the transition.  If you’re a chocolate lover, don’t move from milk chocolate to 80% pure cacao!  Start with smaller percentages of cacao and work your way up.  Water down your juices or sodas with a bit of water until eventually you don’t need such intense sugary tastes to get your sweet fix!  Sometimes making huge and sweeping changes is really setting yourself up for failuer.  Humans are creatures of habit and that’s ok.  Start small but stay constant and you’ll end up where you need to be!

 

What are your best tricks for trying new foods and tastes?

 

 

Learn how to change your taste buds to crave and enjoy healthy foods!

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