We’ve all been there: You know you should choose the fat-free yogurt, but the sugar-laden strawberry yogurt looks so much more tempting. You don’t want to go home and eat vegetable soup (again!) so you grab a quick burger on the way instead.
It’s essential that you want to eat the food on your plate. If it doesn’t taste delicious too then you’re simply not going to keep up with any new diet regime.
We believe that you shouldn’t have to choose between health and flavour: it is possible to have both at the same time. Here are our ten top tips for making your healthy food taste better, which will help you to keep choosing a healthy diet and then stick with it:
Roast Your Vegetables
Are you one of the thousands of people who hate the taste of freshly steamed vegetables? Vegetables might not always taste the best, but they are one of the very best ways that you can ensure you are injecting a myriad of vitamins and minerals into your daily diet.
If you want to make your bland vegetables taste more flavoursome and exciting then the easiest way to do this is to roast them. Almost all vegetables can be roasted, but it is a technique that works best with both root vegetables and Mediterranean vegetables.
Roast peppers alongside onions, tomatoes, zucchini and even aubergine to create the perfect base for rich Italian dishes. If you really don’t enjoy eating vegetables then you could even blend these roasted vegetables to a smooth puree to create a nutrient-rich pizza sauce or a deliciously rich pasta sauce that will be full of flavour.
If you’re looking for something to serve alongside a piece of lean meat then roasted rough cut cubes of root vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes and swede) are a wonderful choice. You’ll be amazed by how much tastier and heartier these vegetables taste when they are roasted.
Add Salt to Your Coffee
Can’t get out of bed in the morning without a cup of Joe? The caffeine in your coffee might not be the best for your health, but if you need it to function then
Can’t bear the thought of cutting out your daily cup of coffee? Then stop putting sugar in it instead! Not only can sugar be addictive, it also contains empty calories that will quickly contribute to unnecessary weight gain.
If you still want to bring out the rich flavour of your coffee, and can’t stand to drink it plain then leave the sugar in the bag and try adding a dash of sea salt to your cup instead. This is a technique often adopted by high-powered chefs to intensify the flavour of their hot drinks.
The salt will bring out subtle flavours in your coffee that you may have never noticed before, whilst also neutralising any bitterness in the beans.
Just like too much sugar, too much salt should also be avoided. Salt can cause your body to retain water (leading to a bloated affect) and can also raise your blood pressure, which could have knock on effects on your heart health. But salt is much better for your waistline than sugar, and can actually have health benefits in moderation, so if weight loss is on your mind then it’s a much better choice.
Try Cauliflower Rice
Have you switched from starchy white rice to brown rice in order to save a few calories, but can’t get used to the gritty texture and bland taste? Why not try cauliflower rice instead?
One cup of cauliflower rice contains just 25 calorie, compared to the 218 calories in cooked brown rice. That means that if you’ve got a big appetite and like to eat a plateful of food for each meal, you can load up without guilt!
As well as being refreshingly low in calories, cauliflower is also a super food: it’s the healthiest cruciferous vegetable around, loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as plenty of potassium and fibre.
Cauliflower rice is also low carb, containing just 5 grams per cup, and can be served with almost anything. To inject extra flavour and goodness into your meal, why not serve alongside a rich roasted vegetable curry, or a firey pot of meat-free five bean chilli?
Sold on the concept, but short on time? Cauliflower rice is much easier to make than you think!
- Place some broken florets of raw cauliflower into your food processor and pulse until they are small and rice-like in texture.
- Transfer the cauliflower into a pre-heated frying pan or skillet with a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil or olive oil.
- Stir often until the cauliflower is softened and ready to eat. The whole process just take just 6-8 minutes.
Go Bold or Go Home
One of the very best ways to make almost any dish taste better is to add a bold and exciting mix of herbs and spices. If your food tastes exciting thanks to the garlic, chilli or other herbs you have added then you won’t miss the fat that you need to cut out.
Reducing the amount of fat you use when cooking your food is one of the easiest way to make your meals taste healthier, but so many of us rely on fat to flavour our foods.
You can concentrate and emphasise the flavours of your dishes by creating your own reductions and adding them to each dish. When you create a reduction you are allowing the tastes and flavours to become much stronger, meaning you won’t need to add fat to add flavour.
This is ideal for pepping up relatively bland meats (such as chicken and turkey) or disguising the tastes of vegetables that you don’t enjoy (particularly independently strong vegetables such as aubergines).
Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Eating a salad may be healthy, but store bought salad dressings tend to be loaded with sugar, salt, and fat, which means that many of us simply choose to avoid them. But a bowlful of salad without any dressing is never going to be a flavour sensation!
Don’t worry you can have your salad loaded with flavoursome dressing without any guilt: you just have to make it yourself.
The best salad dressings are made up of two parts oil to one part acid.The components you choose are entirely up to you: You can try olive oil, avocado oil, or canola oil if you’re looking to use a relatively healthy fat. And the most flavoursome acids include lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar.
One of my favourite salad dressings that is quick and easy to make is a balsamic glaze using two parts extra virgin olive oil to one part aged balsamic vinegar. To give the dressing an extra kick (if you’ve got the time) you can infuse your oil with cracked black pepper by heating it to 150 degrees fahrenheit and then cooling it before you make your dressing.
You’re Sweet Enough!
Struggling to deal with your sweet tooth but don’t want to give in to your sugar cravings? There are other ways to satisfy your need for something sweet without munching on that candy bar.
Our brains are hard wired to crave sweet foods, so it’s perfectly normal to want a sugary snack every now and again. But satisfying those cravings naturally is much easier than you might think. Fruits such as apples, bananas and berries are all great for adding sweetness to meals. Dried fruits such as dates and raisins will have the same impact.
If you’re looking for a bigger and more immediate sweet fix then natural honey or maple syrup are incredibly sweet, but much better for you than sugar. The same rule applies to agave nectar and coconut milk.
Adding fruit to low fat natural yogurt or honey to your oatmeal is a great way to get your sugar fix at the start of the day. If you love dessert and are looking for a satisfying sugar and carb fix then why not try making fruit and nut toast? Simple add dried fruits and nuts to a slice of wholemeal toast and drizzle with maple syrup for a deliciously sweet dessert.
Food tastes better when it looks good. So if you want to make your dinner taste delicious then think about how to present it on your plate: don’t just dump your food in the middle of the bowl. Separate each separate element to make it appear as appetising as possible.
Think about how your favourite meals are prepared when you eat out: how doesn’t your favourite restaurant serve that chicken that you love? By recreating this presentation style on your own plate, and ensuring your meal is visually appealing, you will be much more likely to want to eat it.
Don’t forget to add a garnish to the top of your meal for an extra flourish of soft herbs. Not only will that at colour to your plate, they will also make it much tastier and can be shredded to add extra flavour to any aspect of your dish that seems a little bland.
Buy Your Vegetables in Season
When shopping for vegetables, it is important to ensure that they are as fresh as possible. Buy locally sourced vegetables with minimal air mileage that are in season, so that when the food hits your plate it is as full of flavour and taste as possible.
Vegetables that have been imported, or that are a couple of days old, will lose not only their freshness but also a host of vital nutrients, meaning that you could be forcing yourself to eat vegetables you don’t enjoy for no good reason!
If the veggies you want are not in season then opt for frozen vegetables instead, as these will have been frozen at the point they were picked, ensuring that when you cook them they still taste as fresh as possible.
The best way to ensure that your vegetables are fresh is to buy them from your local farmers market or fresh produce store and eat them within a day or two of purchasing them. Not only will this ensure that the vegetables you eat contain all the vitamins and minerals you need, it will also help them to taste better and fresher than ever before.
When you’re eating a meal it’s important to remove any distractions. That means putting your smart phone down, stepping away from your laptop, and turning off the TV.
Eating when you’re distracted by other things can make you take in up to 40 per cent more calories than usual. This is because your body is too busy focusing on other things to listen to its hunger cues and you’re likely to end up eating much more than you need to.
Focus on what you’re eating. Listen to your body. Enjoy every mouthful and stop when you’ve had enough: you can always have something else to eat later if you’re still hungry, but eating too much will only leave you feeling bloated, sluggish and uncomfortable. Something that should be avoided wherever possible.
Sharing is Caring
Finally, if the thought of eating the healthy food you’ve created makes your heart sink, and you don’t have the ingredients (or the energy) to pep it up a little bit then why not just take a photograph of it instead?
Research has shown that sharing photos of your food on social media (yes, we’re looking at you Instagram) actually enhances your experience of eating that food, no matter how it actually tastes.
According to Cooking Light Magazine, this is because: “When participants in the study were made aware that other individuals were photographing and enjoying the same healthy foods they were about to photograph and enjoy (think: trending hashtags), the pleasurable experience of eating the healthy food was higher than those who did not receive the information.”
So if the idea of tucking into that kale smoothie (again) makes your heart sink, but your seeing results in both your waistline and core strength, then snap a quick photo and
Healthy eating is one of the key components of healthy living, ensuring that you have a long and happy life. But that doesn’t mean the food on your plate has to be bland and tasteless. By following just one or two of the tips in this list, you can help to reignite your passion for food, and start to feel excited about spending time in the kitchen again.
The more you can help yourself enjoy the food you cook at home, the less likely you are to succumb to eating out, bringing home take out food, or indulge in vending machine candy on your way home from the gym.