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Reprogramming Your Tastebuds

February 4th, 2010 No Comments

–By Nutritionista

I’m of the belief that when it comes to healthy habits, the more you do something, the more you’ll want to do it. Many of us seek out the things we’re familiar with, right? Meaning: If you eat fast food every day, that’s what you’ll naturally seek out. If you exercise every day, you’ll start to feel a little off when you don’t.

So how do those of us with a taste for less-than-nutritious food and a knack for spending more time on the couch than participating in any form of physical activity retrain ourselves?

Slowly. Know that if you have a habit of eating a McMuffin for breakfast every day, a homemade breakfast sandwich is just not going to taste as good. But after a few weeks or months of eating the homemade version, suddenly the fast food iteration is the one that tastes weird.

Here are some recipes you can slowly incorporate into your diet that taste similar to the original but will help you reprogram your tastebuds to crave healthier, more nutritious food (that also happens to be tasty!):

  • Reprogrammed Spaghetti & Meatballs: Linguini with Turkey Meatballs from According to Lia. Graduate to whole wheat pasta once you get used to the extra veggies and turkey meatballs.
  • Reprogrammed Baked Beans: BBQ Baked Beans with Kale & Chicken Sausage. Tastes just like mom’s version, with a twist. As you get more used to the addition of kale, experiment with other veggies.
  • Reprogrammed Alfredo Pizza: Green Pizza. This version keeps the creaminess of the original, but adds more veggies and subtracts the excess fat. You’ll start to find that a little cheese goes a long way.
  • Reprogrammed Lasagna: Eggplant Veggie Lasagna. This dish has all the cheesy goodness you come to expect from lasagna, but it contains less noodles and more veggies overall. Trust me, you won’t miss the pasta.
  • Reprogrammed Burger & Fries: Spinach & Feta Burger with Baked Fries. Simply baking your fries instead of, well, frying them can do so much to up the health factor but keep the taste comparable. Also, though turkey burgers don’t taste like beef, this jazzed up version will give your tastebuds something to remember.
  • Reprogrammed Chicken Fingers: Baked Chicken Tenders. You won’t miss the fried version at all, since baking these chicken fingers with whole wheat bread crumbs give the same crispy crunch you know and love.

Again, don’t expect to love these healthy redos of your favorites as much as the original right away. But keep experimenting and you’ll find that you can achieve a very comparable (I’d argue better!) taste for a fewer calories, and a LOT more nutrition. Happy eating!