Women are often concerned that eating healthy means a bland, tasteless diet. You may have visions of unseasoned chicken breasts and broccoli for three meals a day. If you are trying to lose weight, it is possible, even desirable for your healthy foods to be delicious and satisfying.
Eating choices are very individual. They come from a lifetime of habits. They are governed by how you grew up, by your ethnicity, by your values and by your beliefs. If you grew up with nothing but mushy canned peas for a vegetable, then you likely believe that vegetables don’t taste good. Sometimes you might need to step out of your comfort zone to new experiences to discover foods that really taste good.
- Vegetables that are lightly steamed will be much tastier than over cooked boiled vegetables. I put a covered casserole of cut up vegetables in the microwave with just the washing water for about 2 minutes and they are perfect.
- Roasted vegetables are even better. This works really well for bell peppers, asparagus, squash, beets, potatoes and carrots. Broccoli and cauliflower also work. An easy method is to put the vegetables in a bowl and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Stir to coat and place on a cookie sheet and add your choice of seasonings. Roast in the oven until cooked. Some vegetables will cook faster than others, so you may want to add in stages.
- Choose a healthier dip like hummus for your raw vegetables. Hummus is made from chickpeas, so contains protein and fibre and tastes delicious. You will hardly even notice you are eating vegetables.
- Make creamy soups with blended cooked vegetables. Here is an example.
- Salads are best if you use fresh, delicious ingredients. I like to use the formula:
Leafy greens + protein + something crunchy + healthy fat + optional sweetness
- Add a sprinkle of cheese to your salad to make it tastier. Sharp cheddar or goat cheese are both great on salads.
- Top salads with a light splash of extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar instead of commercial salad dressing. Salad vegetables will be much tastier and healthier if not doused in dressing.
- Marinate chicken in hot sauce and grill for a tasty high protein topping to your salad.
- Top your salads with roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or beets to add guilt free sweetness. Berries, mango chunks, and avocados also make great salad toppings.
Meat, poultry and fish
- Use marinades to make meat taste juicy and delicious. A good marinade has an acid like lemon juice,
- Use a pressure cooker for tender, juicy meats. A stove top or plug in pressure cooker works great. Just remember that meats should not be left at room temperature so don’t start use a delayed start with a plug in pressure cooker.
- Take a cue from ethnic cooking and use different spices to add flavour. Use ginger and garlic for an oriental flavour, cumin, oregano and paprika for a Mexican flavour, or curry powder for an inauthentic Indian flavour. Onions and garlic add flavour to anything.
Whole Grains and substitutes
- Substitute quinoa (which is technically a seed) for white rice. If brown rice isn’t your thing, then try quinoa. It has a fluffy texture and can substitute for rice in some recipes.
- Choose steel cut oats or old fashioned rolled oats rather than packaged quick cooking oats. These usually contain a lot of sugar and preservatives. To make your oats tasty, top with blueberries, raisins, chopped nuts, milk (or substitutes), or cinnamon.
- If you choose to use natural sweeteners, use ones with flavour like honey, or maple syrup. When you can taste something other than just sweet, you will use less.
- Don’t be afraid of fats. Your diet needs some and fats make a food much tastier.
- Choose 2% or more yogurt rather than 0%. The taste is much better and often you can eat it without added sugar. 0% yogurt needs added sugar to not taste chalky and overly sour.
- A little real cheese will add much more flavour than a lot of processed cheese.
- Add raw nuts and seeds to salads, or oatmeal for extra flavour and a bit of crunch. Not only do they add flavour, they help to keep you feeling full.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up tasty foods. It means making better choices and preparing foods with care.