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Boring! Bland! Bleh! Healthy food is striking back! Using herbs and spices, some tips and tricks, and a dash of creativity, you can enjoy healthy eating just as much as a gooey, fatty pizza which tips your calorie count for the day.

You can learn to truly enjoy healthy eating – not simply to tolerate it.

Say “Yes” To Healthy Food

Sadly, healthy eating has been labeled many awful names over the years – “tasteless”, “rabbit food” and the like. Due to a lack of imagination it can be boring – but so can unhealthy food.

Healthy eating should be the norm, not a fad. Unfortunately, unhealthy food can be highly addictive. Changing from unhealthy eating habits to healthy ones can take weeks or months, but it’s well worth the effort. Easier weight control, enhanced energy and a better immune system can be some of the many gains to look forward to. Try the following tips to help you fall in love with healthy food.

Start with Fresh, Good Quality Ingredients

Know how to select fresh, ripe, good quality fruit and vegetables. Choose locally grown fruit and veg in season, rather than imported ones. Locally grown produce tends to be fresher as it’s travelled less distance to get to you. The older the fruit and veg, the fewer nutrients they contain as many vitamins break down over time.

Stale, limp and mouldy fruit and veg can’t be resurrected and made fresh again. It has to be good quality to begin with, or it’s not worth your time.

Slimy, smelly, out-of-date meat, fish and poultry is for the bin, not your family. Poor quality food puts you and your family at risk of food poisoning, and also tastes awful.

Experiment with Herbs and Spices

Know how to store herbs and spices, how much to use, in what combinations and so on.

Join a Cooking Class

Try Thai, Indian, Italian cooking classes and more – delicious! Check out your local community centre to see what courses are running. You might also make a friend or two (or three…) – bonus.

Buy Some Cook Books

There are lots of delicious cook books around with heaps of healthy recipes. Your local library might even have some, to save you money. We’ve also got many recipes you can use.

Swap Delicious Healthy Recipes with a Friend or Family Member

Sponge ideas off others (in a good way) and give them ideas too. You have nothing to gain but healthier, tastier meals, better health, and stronger friendships.

Prepare and Cook Food So it Looks and Tastes Great

There’s a big difference between fresh, tender vegetables compared to overcooked, mushy vegetables. Have you ever eaten vegetables which were cooked so long they turned sloppy, unappealing and awful-smelling? Squid, steak, prawns – whatever food it is, know how long and how to cook it to bring out the best in its texture and flavour. Knowing which foods combine best with others is also important.

Obviously if food looks good, you’re more likely to eat it. Chop up fruit and vegetables for children and arrange them in ways which make them want to eat it. Smiley faces, fruit kebabs and fruit smoothies are easy ways to make kids want to eat their fruit. Do the same for adults (minus the smiley faces) and arrange food so it looks good. Add a garnish and keep the rim of your plate clear of food.

Adapt Recipes to Make them Healthier

You probably know ways to adapt recipes so they are healthier – there are plenty around. Check out the ones below. For more ideas read the related article Clever Cooking: Your Guide to Adapting Recipes.

  • Grill, steam, microwave or bake your food instead of frying it. Avoid boiling veggies in water, as vital nutrients leach into the water and get lost. If you do boil veggies, at least use the leftover liquid in soups and stews.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil or other oils high in mono and polyunsaturated fats (‘good fats’) rather than blended vegetable oil and oils high in saturated fat (‘bad fat’). Buy Australian extra virgin olive oils to ensure you’re getting a genuine product. Research has found some brands of imported olive oil aren’t even olive oil.
  • Choose healthy snacks, such as fruit and veggies and air-popped popcorn, instead of less healthy snacks like crisps, biscuits and cakes.

So spice up your food, think outside the box and experiment with your meals so you fall in love with healthy food.

Calorie King
CalorieKing's mission is to provide the best information, tools and education to Australians to help them conquer their weight.

CalorieKing is the brainchild of Allan Borushek, registered dietitian, co-found here at food.com.au and author of "Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie & Fat Counter", Australia's best-selling calorie counter for over 30 years.
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