One of the biggest challenges for eating healthier is healthy food can taste bland and be boring.
A lot of our members give us this feedback when they are developing healthier eating habits, and making different choices.
Until your palate adapts to your new diet, consuming healthier foods will be a challenge for most people.
Our brain is wired for salty, sweet, and savory foods. This is why processed foods are so popular with the majority of society, and why they have those “addictive” qualities.
But as we all know, processed foods don’t do your waistline or your health any justice.
So what’s the solution you may be asking? Well, how about we make healthy food taste amazing, all the while keeping your waistline and your health a priority! No this isn’t an oxymoron! You can make healthy food taste amazing with a little creativity, and some tips and tricks.
Below are 8 Ways to make your healthy food taste awesome!
1. Use lots of spices and herbs
It’s amazing what a little spice and herb can add to a meal. Whether you are making chicken, fish, cooking rice, or sautéing veggies, spices make a big difference and add a lot of character to your meals!
So what are some healthy and tasty spices you can add to your food?
Here is a list of some of our favorites:
- Sea salt
- Garlic powder and garlic salt
- Mrs. Dash
- Montreal Steak and Chicken Spice
Some of these do have a higher salt content, but salt is not that bad for you if you use it sparingly and don’t go overboard.
Add these spices to your meat, veggies, and complex carbs before you cook them. This will allow the spices to soak into your food, really absorbing the flavor they provide.
2. Sweeten naturally
While our brains are hard wired for sweet foods, there are many ways to sweeten your snacks and meals while keeping them healthy and nutritious.
Consider sweetening your snacks and meals by adding in the following:
- Fruits like apples, berries, bananas, etc.
- Dried fruit like dates, raisins, and figs.
- Natural honey or maple syrup
- Agave nectar
So the next question is, when and where do I add these things in to my meals?
These ideas go well with foods or drinks that are bland on their own, and are usually paired up nicely with something sweet like:
- Quinoa- if you use it as a breakfast option
- Plain yogurt- Greek or regular
- Black coffee- honey, maple syrup, or stevia
- Snacks like nuts and fruit, or fruit and nut butter.
- Salad. Dried fruit, regular fruit would apply here as a great addition to a salad. Also, honey or maple syrup if we are using it make a dressing.
- Dried fruits and regular fruit like banana can be a great substitute for sugar if you are baking, or want to make your dessert healthier.
3. Use sauces, healthier ones of course
There are a select few sauces that are quite healthy and can add a lot of life to your meals.
Here are a few to consider:
- Soy sauce- reduced sodium
- Hot sauce
These are great additions to proteins like chicken, fish, and red meat, and can also add nice flavour to stir-fry’s and side dishes like brown rice and quinoa.
Marinating meats not only makes them taste better, but also makes your protein tender and easier to enjoy.
Marinating your meats for at least 24-48 hours is recommended for optimal flavor, and texture. When marinating meats consider these tips:
- Use marinades that are olive oil based
- If you are using sweetener use things like honey or maple syrup
- Add lots of spices and herbs
- Stay away from sugary sauces, or refined sugar based marinades in general.
- Use mustard and hot sauce to add some additional flavoring to marinades
Here is a great marinade recipe for salmon
In a container, or Tupperware, add the following:
- Natural maple syrup- ½ cup approx. You may need to play around with this depending on the flavour you want.
- Olive oil- approximately 1 cup You may need to play around with this depending on the flavour you want.
- Regular mustard. Amount depends on how much of a mustard taste you want in the marinade.
- Add garlic salt, pepper, basil, and oregano
- Marinade salmon in this for 24-48 hours
Once you have completed the marinating process, crush up pecans or pistachios and add these on top, and bake until ready.
5. Cook with, and include healthy fats
Our brains are also hard wired to crave savory foods. Fats are a great way to enhance flavor, texture, and create an overall savory taste.
When using fats, you want to stick with the unsaturated variety and stay away from saturated and trans fats as much as possible. Whether you are using them for cooking or including them with your meals/snacks.
Here are the best fats to use:
- Coconut oil: This is one of the better oils to use for cooking, as it has a high smoke point and adds a ton of flavor to your food.
Here are a few ways you can use coconut oil
- Using it to sauté chicken, shrimp, or veggies
- Adding it in with herbs and spices before you cook brown rice or quinoa
- Adding it in with pasta sauce
- Frying your eggs in coconut oil. This is one of the best ways to have your eggs. Over hard, with some coconut oil, pepper, and garlic salt.
- Adding it in with fruit to your oatmeal.
- Olive oil: olive is best used as a marinade, in a salad dressing, or cooking/sautéing with low temperatures.
Here a few ways to use olive oil:
- Add it as one of your ingredients when you marinade meat
- Combine it with balsamic vinegar for a nice salad dressing
- Add it in with herbs and spices and blend into a salad dressing
- Use it to sauté veggies or meat under a low temperature
- Avocado and Grapeseed Oil: These two oils are great for cooking as they have a high smoke point. High smoke points are an important property with cooking oils, especially when cooking with high temperatures. This prevents the oil from converting into a trans-fat.
These oils can be also used as a base for homemade salad dressings as well.
Nut butters like natural almond, peanut, and cashew butter:
These are great fats to add into your snacks if you are eating fruits, or even dip for your vegetables.
These are also a great addition to whole grain bread at breakfast, and for adding to smoothies in the morning
Using avocado itself: avocado is a great addition to any salad, as a snack, added in with omelets, or as a creamy base for any sauces or healthy desserts.
6. Use low sodium stock
Adding low sodium chicken or beef stock to stews, casseroles, recipes, or simply using it to cook your rice or quinoa enhances the flavor and keeps your calories relatively low.
If you are adding stock to rice or quinoa, add it in along with herbs and spices allowing the flavors to absorb into the grains.
Make sure the stock you choose is low sodium, as most regular stocks are extremely high in sodium and can be up to 50% of your recommended intake of salt per day. If stocks are low sodium, they will most likely be advertised as this on the packaging.
7. Use protein powder
The biggest challenge with protein powders when they first hit the market was their chalky consistency, and lack of flavor.
Powder manufacturers have quickly realized that taste does matter to people, and have taken steps to make their products much more palatable.
Protein powder can be great addition to snacks and certain meals, not only to enhance the nutritional value of the meal, but to enhance the flavor to some otherwise boring foods.
Here are some great ways to add protein powder in to your meals and snacks:
- Mix protein powder in with our Greek yogurt, unflavoured or plain yogurt. You can make various healthy puddings doing this, with whatever flavor of protein you use. You can also add in fruit to these as well. You could also mix protein powder with water or milk as your base, add in some nut butter, and some fruit to make a healthy and delicious protein pudding dessert.
- Add protein powder to enhance the flavour of smoothies.
Here is a simple smoothie recipe:
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 banana
- 1 tbsp. of natural peanut butter
- 1 cup of milk ( regular, almond, or coconut)
- Crushed ice
- Blend for 30 seconds and serve.
Protein powder can be also a great addition if want to make desserts healthier like bars and cookies.
8. Use extracts
Extracts are a great low calorie and sugar free way to enhance the flavor of your food. I would recommend adding in extracts to your smoothies to bring out whatever flavor you want. You can also add extracts if you are baking any healthy desserts
Here is an example of what you could do:
After Eight Smoothie
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
- 1 tbsp. of natural almond or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp. of peppermint extract
- 1 cup of milk- almond, coconut, or regular
- Crushed ice. Blend and serve.
If you are used to eating a certain way, especially if you eat out a lot or are used to processed foods, making the transition to better food choices can be a challenge.
But by using these tips and a little creativity, eating better can not only be fun, but it can be much easier to adopt and sustain as part of a healthy lifestyle.