Written By Becki Andrus
This blog post is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about why vegetables taste gross. Make sure to take a moment to read the article if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet…
Yesterday, we talked about the reasons why so many people don’t enjoy the tastes of vegetables… today we are going to take the next step and go over a few steps to help you learn to enjoy the natural flavors of vegetables.
Before we get started, it is important for you to take a few moments to think about this:
Remember that your eating decisions and attitudes are a CHOICE! If you choose to have a bad attitude about eating healthy, then you will continue to dislike vegetables because your mind isn’t open to change. But, if you choose to be open-minded and willing to try new things, you will find that many new doors open and you will be amazed at how much your taste buds change.
In order to successfully adjust your taste buds, it’s absolutely necessary to cut out the unhealthy, overstimulating ingredients such as sugar, salt, MSG, chemicals, preservatives, etc. (Or at least drastically cut back on the amounts that you are eating).
So, most of this article is focused on the topic of breaking unhealthy eating habits, because you will find that cutting out the unhealthy ingredients will allow your taste buds to adjust so that you can enjoy the natural flavors that can be found in whole foods.
And on that note, let’s get started…
4 Steps To Change Your Taste Buds & Start ENJOYING Healthy Foods
1. Break The Addictions
As difficult as it is, you will need to break your junk food addictions. I know that this doesn’t sound like fun, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it (LOL!)… it will be hard to get over the addictive habits that you have created in your life!
If you want to enjoy healthy foods more, it is absolutely necessary to work on breaking the bad eating habits at the same time—because your palate has become accustomed to eating unhealthy foods that are high in ingredients such as sugars, sodium, MSG, chemicals, and preservatives.
Cutting out these ingredients will allow your palette to adjust, and you will find that over time you will be able to enjoy the natural taste of healthy food (because your taste buds are no longer tainted by the junk food).
You probably have years of poor eating habits and bad addictions that you have become accustomed to, and it is a very hard thing to break out of your comfort zone and make the change. You’ll feel uncomfortable, you’ll want to give up, and you’ll start to wonder if it really even matters.
But, don’t give in!
Breaking your food addictions will be a liberating task to undertake, and it is definitely worth it in the long run!
It usually takes me 3-4 days to get past the unbearable food cravings, but there are a few strategies that I use to stay strong during those days: drink plenty of water, have a healthier substitution available (ie fruit instead of candy), have someone to talk to if I start to feel weak, or have a pre-determined task to keep my mind off the food.
These are just a few ideas, figure out what works for you personally… and then commit to implement your strategy when times get tough. Write it down if you need to!
You need to make up your mind that it is time to break through the addictive habits that are holding you back, and then grit your teeth and bear through it. Constantly remind yourself of the fact that you will feel SO good once you have made it through the first few days.
2. Stuff Yourself With Healthy Foods That You Like
When people are trying to break junk foods addictions, the mistake that most of them make is to not have good foods available to fill your stomach. If your stomach is growling, you will be much more likely to give up and start eating unhealthy foods again.
Choose some of the healthy foods that you enjoy, and have plenty of these foods available to eat. Don’t worry about the perfect portions or even a balanced diet in the first 2 or 3 days… just have healthy alternatives available and allow yourself to fill your stomach whenever you would like.
For example, if you are trying to overcome refined sugar cravings and you know that you love tangerines, allow yourself to eat tangerines whenever you want. Don’t limit yourself—instead focus on the abundance of healthy foods that are available, and make sure that you eat plenty so that your stomach is not hungry.
Keeping your stomach filled throughout the day will make it much easier to avoid eating the foods that you are trying to break free from.
And remember that breaking these habits will allow you to adjust your taste buds so that the healthy foods taste better.
3. Avoid Your Trigger Points
You are probably aware of some of the “trigger points” that you may have concerning food. For example, some people find themselves turning to junk foods in times of stress or anxiety or boredom.
When I was making the transition to healthy eating, I figured out that my weakest times were at the grocery store deli in the morning (when I was picking up breakfast) and the vending machines at work. So, I started shopping ahead of time to have my breakfast ready to go in order to avoid the grocery store in the mornings. And I also stopped carrying change or small bills in my wallet when I was at work (it’s difficult to purchase vending machine food if you don’t have change for it).
Taking these small steps allowed me to step back and put a cushion between myself and the temptations, so I was able to really think about my food decisions instead of easily falling into the habit of just mindlessly eating junk food because it was easy to come by.
So, analyze where your weak moments are, and put a plan in place to help you avoid the tempting situations.
Make sure that you have healthy options available, so that you always have a snack on hand when you need it.
4. Experiment, Try New Foods!
As you break your unhealthy food habits, you will have the chance to start adding in new foods—be adventurous and willing to try new things that you aren’t used to eating! There are many possibilities out there, and you will begin to see how many options you have to choose from.
I have found that the easiest transition method is to have your favorite vegetables on hand all the time, and eat more and more of those. And then also begin to add in new dishes that you haven’t tried before.
Do some reading to find new ways to prepare the vegetables, and experiment a few different ways so that you can see how you enjoy it best. Also remember, that sometimes you might not have the best impression in the beginning… but your taste will still be changing and you may enjoy that particular type of vegetable prepared in a different way or at a later date.
The most important thing is that you are open and willing to try new things. Have a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit on hand, and eat plenty of them.
It is really cool to see how much your taste buds can change over time. For example, I am amazed to see how sweet fruit tastes when you don’t eat refined sugars very often. The natural juices and flavors are very satisfying when you have cut out the artificial tastes of the refined sugars!
Remember that it is a process to change your eating habits, so give yourself some time to learn your new habits and make adjustments to your everyday eating. The natural flavors in fruits and vegetables will become more and more satisfying over time as you wean yourself off of the unhealthy foods.
I hope that you have enjoyed this article! My goal with this blog is to help as many people as possible learn about healthy eating habits, and teach people steps that they can take to improve their daily habits.
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