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

You know our favorite diet? It’s a trick question…we don’t have one. 

That’s because the best diet is the one you’ll actually stick to. And to stick to any dietary guidelines, it has to taste good and be enjoyable — we’re all human, after all!

So when you think healthy eating, if you’re still thinking food that tastes like cardboard or super restrictive diets of the past, think again. Deprivational dieting is so out, and trust us — it’s not the way to get truly healthy. You can absolutely eat wholesome, unprocessed, healthy foods (80-90% of the time at least) and enjoy every dang bite of it.

In case your healthy eating is still bland or repetitive, let us help you fix that with our top seven healthy eating hacks that literally make everything taste delicious!

But First — Some Tea On Dieting (And Why It Doesn’t Work)

Before we get into our tips to make healthy eating totally delish and flavorful, an important reminder:

Studies have shown that restrictive dieting does not work. In fact, 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, and will only lead to that yo-yo, on-again-off-again cycle you probably already know all too well.

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 help 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. Check out some of our favorite sugar-free desserts here. 

Now…7 Healthy Eating Hacks to Make Everything You Eat Insanely Yummy

With that said, here are seven healthy eating hacks for dialing up the yum factor of any healthy 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.

#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

Think you hate tomatoes or that lettuce tastes like water? Foods you thought you knew (and maybe didn’t care for) are a totally different thing when you’re eating them in season. 

Fresher produce that doesn’t have to be shipped thousands of miles and refrigerated to make it to you, no surprise, has a whole different taste! Don’t believe us? Just try a fresh tomato or head of lettuce from a local farmers market, 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 regimen and one of the often-overlooked healthy eating hacks that can make a huge difference in the flavor of your food!

#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 are also less flavorful? That’s right — loads of oil can actually dull the natural flavor of foods, so go light on the oil. 

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, just start using less oil to cook or even try sauteeing veggies in broth, which works just as well and allows the natural flavors to shine through.

#4 Sauce it Up

Healthy eating staples you might have thought were boring like brown rice, quinoa, beans, or sauteed veggies get a whole new lease on life when drizzled in a yummy dressing.

The options are endless, but we suggest always having at least one or two homemade sauces in the fridge. 

We love:

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

#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 simple healthy eating hack that can make a world of difference when it comes to the flavor of your recipes?

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 healthy eating 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.

It’s time to stop thinking healthy eating means deprivation. Once you get out of the diet mentality and start seeing healthy eating as an opportunity to try a smorgasbord of new flavors and dishes, it’ll become the farthest thing from a chore. 

Use These Healthy Eating Hacks to Add Tons of Flavor to Your Favorite Healthy Dishes

Like we said, 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 hacks for making healthy eating more delicious will set you up to see nutritious food in a whole new light.

Bon appetit!