It’s really important to eat a varied diet. Our bodies need to be fuelled with foods which offer different nutrients and vitamins, but what happens if you think you don’t like healthy foods? Check out our top six tips to help you overhaul your diet.
Start small – don’t try to change everything at once
If you get rid of everything unhealthy at once you’ll likely crave unhealthy foods more. One of the reasons people find it hard to starting eating healthy is they don’t want to give up the foods they love eating. You might think that healthy foods aren’t going to be foods you’ll love to eat, but if you start by making small changes in the beginning, you’ll be giving yourself time to adjust.
For example, you could change the way you cook your food. Instead try baking food in the oven or when frying food use a low calorie spray. Or you could try adding a side salad to your meal to help keep you fuller for longer, whilst also increasing your nutrition. Set yourself goals daily, it could be swapping fizzy or sugary drinks for water, or decreasing the amount of sugar you add to your tea or coffee, or lowering the amount of salt you add to your dishes.
Don’t cut out foods, just try adding different ones to it
Maybe you’ve been stuck buying the same foods for convenience and because you know you like them, but why not try some new spices or foods that you haven’t tried. For example if you like eating pizza, you could cut it in half and add a salad to the side so it helps to keep you fuller and try to add some extra vegetables as toppings for extra nutrition. It’s important to remember you don’t have to give up everything you like, but you can adapt the foods you eat and the way you eat them.
Each week you could try browsing online or taking a look in recipe books so when you go shopping you'll be inspired to try picking up new ingredients to cook. If you don’t try it, how do you know you won’t like it?
Distinguish between hunger and eating out of habit
Before you head straight to the biscuit tin, grab a packet of crisps from the cupboard, or quickly reach for a chocolate bar, think about whether you’re actually hungry or not. Sometimes we get used to eating foods like this because we know it's there and it’s a habit we're used to. For example, in the afternoon if you have a cup of tea, you might just instinctively eat a couple of biscuits or cut yourself a slice of cake, the thing to think about is whether you’re hungry or just doing it because you always have it.
Remember we’re not saying you can’t have biscuits or cake, but it’s important to enjoy them in moderation and if you’re hungry, you should eat, but think about what you can replace your unhealthier foods with instead. Check out the healthy snacks section on BBC Good Food for some ideas.
Don’t use food as a reward
Growing up, you might have been told you couldn’t have dessert until you finished your meal, or at the end of a hard day you reach for sweets and chocolate because you feel like you’ve earned it. By thinking about food as a reward, it’s like you’re giving yourself permission to indulge which is something you shouldn’t do everyday.
Ensure you make healthy choices throughout the day, eating consistently so you won’t be tempted to overeat later in the day because you’re hungry.
Instead of rewarding yourself with unhealthy foods, you could try treating yourself in other ways. Why not buy yourself a new piece of clothing, take up a new hobby or get yourself some new cooking equipment.
Commit to keeping an open mind
There’ll be foods you don’t like, of course, and meals you’ll have cooked where you don’t like the taste. But don’t give up. If you don’t like something, try something else. There’s so many good food choices, recipes and spices out there, so keep exploring, tasting and trying new things.
Focus on how better you feel
By making healthier choices you’ll start to notice benefits to your overall health. Eating healthy can help your concentration, help you feel fuller with regular meals, save you money, reduce your irritability, improve your skin, help you get better sleep, make you feel less bloated, builds a stronger immune system and can help you lose weight.
It’s important to note that we’re not born with a craving for unhealthy foods, this happens over time when we learn and try more unhealthy foods. But you can take some steps to change your unhealthy cravings into healthy ones.