As we begin the new year with resolutions it’s important to remember that healthy eating is all about balance and consistency. The right diet provides you with the nutrients and calories that your body needs, and is going to look a little different for everyone. There’s no need to feel pressure to love every food deemed ‘healthy’—here are three ways to make 2018 the year you stop worrying about healthy foods you don’t like and start delighting in the healthy foods you love.
The easiest way to start eating healthy is to familiarize yourself with foods that will nourish your body. Chances are, there are a lot of ‘healthy’ ingredients that you already have an affinity for—take a look at this list of 50 healthy foods, see what already makes your mouth water, and work from there.
If you’re not sure exactly sure how to incorporate those ingredients into meals, our award-winning chefs have your covered. Let’s say you like apples (a great source of healthy carbs, fiber, and vitamin C) but you want them to be more than a mere snack. Our ever-changing menu features chef-crafted dishes like our kale and apple salad or our apple-glazed pork chop so that you can be inspired by new methods without lifting a finger. If you’re looking to try something new, our menu is also a great way to get effortless exposure to unfamiliar flavors.
Spice Things Up
Whole, nutrient-rich foods are often neglected when it comes to spice and seasoning—meals in the ‘health’ category often conjure up images of plain chicken breasts and drab green salads. Because of this association, health and flavor have slowly become antonyms, despite being very complementary. As long as you aren’t using large amounts of salt and sugar, however, seasoning doesn’t compromise the healthful properties of wholesome ingredients, allowing meals to be as delicious as they are nourishing. In fact, many spices can provide a health boost in addition to providing flavor—garlic is rich in vitamins, nuts and seeds offer your body necessary healthy fats, and spices like turmeric have been shown to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
If you want to experiment with your own flavors, think about your favorite meals and see if you can identify the spice profiles that please your palate. Are greasy pollo asado tacos your go-to? Try a chipotle-chili dry rub and a squeeze of lime on your next chicken dinner and you’ll automatically cut down on salt and fat while maintaining plenty of familiar flavor. Are you a sucker for that rich Indian restaurant staple, butter chicken? Borrow that scrumptious mixture of garam masala, turmeric, and cumin to add life to some beautifully roasted butternut squash—those spices can effortlessly take the place of excess cream. Many ‘healthy’ foods (poultry, grains, and veggies) are great at holding flavors, so there’s almost no limit to how tasty you can make your next wholesome meal.
If you’re having a hard time finding ‘healthy’ foods whose flavors you enjoy, don’t despair. As mentioned in the preface, eating well is about achieving balance. This means that the addition of veggies to your next burger could make a big difference in bringing a healthy serving of greens to your diet.
You can also take your favorite meals and make little substitutions or additions to attain this balance. Because some nutrient-rich foods don’t have dominant flavor profiles, you can use them to bolster dishes that you already find scrumptious. Purée some veggies (carrots, peppers, eggplant) and sneak them into a bolognese sauce or a lasagne or—for you breakfast lovers—add a little chopped broccoli to your scrambled eggs.
The Bottom Line
Eating better doesn’t mean pivoting your diet away from the foods that you love. Instead, focus on finding nutrient-rich, whole foods that you truly enjoy. We hope that our chefs can help make this discovery effortless so your 2018 can be full of new eating habits that taste (and feel) even better than last year’s.
Don’t forget to join our New Year, New You challenge for the chance to win more than $500 worth of health-oriented goodies, including a MyFitnessPal membership and an Apple Watch!