Healthy Eating

7 Hacks to Make Healthy Food Something You’ll Actually Want to Eat

Because healthy eating should not mean deprivation.

By: Emmy Schneider-Green

If you’re wondering how to eat healthy while actually enjoying your meal, you’ve come to the right place. Here at FitOn we don’t believe in restriction or bland diets. Deprivational dieting is so out, and trust us — it’s not the way to get truly healthy. What we do believe in is balance! You can absolutely eat wholesome, healthy foods and enjoy every dang bite.  

Balance is Key 

I think we can all agree, healthy eating habits are much easier to stick to when you enjoy what you’re eating. Gone are the days of diet foods that taste like cardboard or restrictive dinners made of steamed broccoli and chicken. When you get stuck in this restrictive mindset, healthy eating habits can quickly become unhealthy.

The best diet is the one you’ll actually stick to and one that works best for your own unique dietary needs (there is no one-size-fits-all!) And to stick to any dietary guidelines, it has to taste good and be enjoyable — we’re all human, after all!

When it comes to how to eat healthy, it’s all about finding balance and enjoying yourself in the process! Rather than skipping a night out with friends because you know it involves dinner and drinks, find a way to balance fitness and fun. Maybe you enjoy a burger and fries, but skip the bread for a lettuce bun. Or, maybe you order a drink but swap the sugary cocktail for a glass of wine. Healthy eating habits can be simple, sustainable, and restriction-free! 

Why Restrictive Dieting Doesn’t Work 

Before we get into our delicious and flavorful healthy eating tips, did you know that many studies have shown that restrictive dieting does not work? A UCLA study found that at least one-third of people on diets actually regain even more weight than they initially lost within a 4-5 year timeframe. The bottom line is that restriction isn’t sustainable.

When it comes to eating healthy, consider a more balanced approach — stick to clean eating the majority of the time, but allow yourself some wiggle room to enjoy your favorite treats and cocktail in moderation here and there. Having room for some of your favorite foods will keep you from feeling like you’re missing out on tailgates, dinners, happy hours, birthday cakes, and other parts of life! Plus, there are plenty of healthier ways to enjoy your favorite treats while still maintaining healthy eating habits.

7 Healthy Food Tips to Make Things More Exciting

With that said, here are seven healthy eating tips for dialing up the yum factor of any dish, because contrary to popular belief, you don’t need tons of sugar, fat, or salt to make a healthy dish taste good. Consider this your breakup with sad, bland salads.

Find out how to eat healthy, FitOn style!

#1 Spice, Spice, Spice

It’s probably not salt your meal’s lacking — it’s spices! If your spice rack is pretty meager, start introducing more spices into your repertoire. 

Some of our favorites include:

  • Turmeric
  • Oregano 
  • Cumin
  • Chile powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Paprika 
  • Cayenne pepper 

Healthy eating absolutely doesn’t have to be bland. There’s more than one way to make something craveable.

#2 Eat Seasonally

If you simply don’t find healthy foods enjoyable, learn how to eat healthy by changing the way you shop!

One of our favorite healthy eating tips is to shop local and in season at your grocery store! If you think lettuce tastes like water, try heading to your local farmer’s market and trying a head of home-grown lettuce. When you’re eating food that’s grown 5 miles away versus 5,000 miles away, no surprise — it has a whole different taste! Don’t believe us? Just try a fresh tomato or head of lettuce from a garden and thank us later.

Having a hard time finding seasonal produce? Check if your town has a CSA or Community Shared Agriculture system you can join. It’s like buying into a share of your local farm and getting regular subscription boxes of farm-fresh goodies — a huge win for your healthy eating habits. 

#3 Go Easy on the Oil (Try an Air Fryer!)

Did you know, unhealthy greasy foods or dishes cooked in tons of oil are not only high in unnecessary fat but can also taste less flavorful? That’s right — loads of oil can actually dull the natural flavor of foods, so go light on the oil. 

If you love all things fried, don’t worry — we’ve got healthy eating tips for you! A killer tool for any healthy eating aficionado is an air fryer, which pretty much does away with the need to cook things in oil at all. If you don’t want to invest in a new appliance, here’s a simple healthy eating hack. Try using less oil to cook or sauteeing veggies in broth — let the natural flavors shine through instead!

#4 Sauce it Up

In need of no-fail healthy eating tips? When in doubt, sauce it up. Give flavorless healthy eating staples like brown rice, quinoa, beans, or sauteed veggies a whole new lease on life! Learn how to eat healthy by flavoring bland meals with a simple drizzle of yummy dressing. The options are endless!

One of the best healthy eating tips is to always have at least one or two homemade sauces in the fridge. Try swapping out high-calorie processed ingredients like mayo for a healthier alternative like low-fat yogurt. 

Here are some ideas to try! 

  • Vegan cashew-based queso
  • Homemade tzatziki
  • Gingery carrot dressing
  • Homemade BBQ sauce with way less sugar and icky additives 

For step-by-step recipes and yummy meal ideas, sign up for FitOn PRO!

#5 Try New Flavors

There’s only so many ways you can dress up plain rice and chicken — try something outside the box! 

Never had Indian, Thai, or authentic Mexican food? There’s literally a world of flavors out there just waiting for you to try. 

Aside from exploring different cuisines, just try busting out of your comfort zone. If you’re always buying bananas, try kiwi. Instead of making another pot of rice, try millet or amaranth.

#6 Brighten it Up With Citrus

Another one of our favorite healthy eating tips that can make a world of difference when it comes to the flavor of your meals?

A squeeze or two of lemon or lime juice goes a long way in brightening up the flavor of a dish. Think lentil soups, creamy sauces, a vegan cheese sauce, and salad dressing — some zesty citrus instantly invigorates a dish.

#7 Ditch the Mindset Around “Healthy Eating”

One of the ultimate hacks when it comes to how to eat healthy has nothing to do with cooking tips and everything to do with what’s up in your brain! That’s right — ditch the diet mentality.

You can still have health and fitness goals, but it’s time to stop thinking healthy eating means deprivation. You can still optimize your muscle growth with a protein-rich diet without eating boiled chicken. You can still lose a few pounds without drastically cutting your calories. It’s all about reframing your thought process!  

Once you get out of the diet mentality and start seeing how to eat healthy as an opportunity to try a smorgasbord of new flavors and dishes, it’ll become the farthest thing from a chore. 

Final Thoughts

Life’s too short to eat bland foods that bum you out, and there’s just no reason to. Whether your goals are weight loss, gain, or nothing to do with weight at all, these healthy eating tips will set you up to see nutritious food in a whole new light.

Cheers to healthy eating habits you can actually enjoy. Bon appetit!