There are three main reasons why we eat and drink: for energy, for pleasure, and for health. It is important to balance all three, making sure that one of these categories doesn't dictate everything you consume. The best part is realizing that it can be simple and inexpensive to achieve all three in the majority of your meals and snacks.
Have you ever heard anyone say “try this -- it’s good for you”, or someone responds with “...that tastes healthy”. The latter often means ‘I can tell that what I just tried is good for me, but I’m not sure I enjoyed it’. That visceral reaction to things like vegetables or fermented foods can be a barrier towards a well-balanced diet. Luckily, you don’t have to trade delicious food for healthy eating. Or vice versa. Combining flavorful ingredients in creative ways can make things like mizuna delicious -- the internet is teeming with great recipes for making tasty food out of nutritious ingredients.
Practice Makes Perfect. Sometimes we crave what we need in terms of vitamins and minerals, but more often our bodies become accustomed to what we eat, expecting the same thing -- craving more of what it is given. So if you are constantly eating fried, fatty, salty, or sugary foods, that is what your body will crave, and your taste buds will yearn for those flavor sensations (salty, sweet, etc). Luckily, taste preferences aren’t permanent, and your taste buds actually replace themselves two or three times every month. If you commit to a temporary eating habit that is high in fruits and vegetables, and low in processed, sweet, or fried foods, you will begin to crave the fresh fruits and vegetables, and they will even begin to taste sweeter and more flavorful. That’s right, healthy food starts to taste better!
Personal Challenge. Try increasing your fruit and vegetable intake for one week, the more the better. Eat more salad, take bananas or nuts for snacks, drink fresh juice and tons of water. Also, try to significantly reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, meaning processed foods, drinks with added sugar, etc. After a week or two various foods should start to taste more flavorful and sweeter. Just imagine craving a salad for lunch.
Get the most out of your food. The fresher your fruits and veggies are, the more nutritious and flavorful they will be. The local farmers market may be the best choice for the freshest produce, while also supporting the people in your community. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are also a convenient way to ensure that you are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables as they are harvested throughout the season.