If you ask most people why they don’t bother to eat a healthy diet, they’ll tell you it’s because they want to eat food that tastes good. They think a healthy diet involves tasteless fare like rice cakes and quinoa.
Contrary to what we’ve been told, rice cakes are not much of a health food. They’re puffed rice, and rice is a high-carb food with fiber in it, with brown rice being slightly more nutritious and flavorful than white. Rice cakes mainly became popular because they were low in fat—back in the days when we all erroneously thought any kind of fat was bad for you. They’re primarily empty, high-carb filler. Ask yourself this question: Is your diet deficient in carbs? Probably not. Of course, if you’re going to eat carbs, whole grains like brown rice are better for you than cinnamon buns, but then you knew that.
Then there’s quinoa—the poster child for bland foods. Quinoa is, in fact, somewhat beneficial because of its omega-3 fatty acids and a small amount of protein, but it too is a high-carb food, and—even worse—it has absolutely no flavor at all. Someday we should conduct a taste test to see if blindfolded participants can tell the difference in flavor between quinoa and mattress stuffing. A good guess would be no. Quinoa is so flavorless that you can literally put it in anything and no one will ever know. It’s a stealth food. The only way you can tell it’s in there is if you can see it. If it’s hidden inside something else, you won’t have any idea you’re eating it. So the fun value in eating quinoa would be…?
The good news is that most healthy foods actually have lots of flavor. How about ripe, sweet, juicy dark cherries? Cherries are so delicious that you’ll look for new ways to eat them. Folded into your plain yogurt with a little drizzle of honey, they’re like a dessert. A cherry smoothie is a delight. Or you can make Rawmazing’s raw cherry crisp or Fully Raw’s cherry cheesecake. Both will satisfy your sweet tooth in addition to adding great nutritional value.
The list of delicious fruits that are good for you is long. You can either eat them just as they are, ripe and juicy, or add them to recipes like these for more flavor punch. Either way, you get much more nutrition and tons more flavor than with rice cakes and quinoa.
Then there are the vegetables. There’s a lot more zest and variety here than you might think too. Carrot sticks and celery sticks are doable, but dip them in some hummus or a great yogurt-based dip. You can get kale chips in a variety of tasty flavors, and you can spiralize vegetables and make them into meals you’ll crave over and over. Check out the recipes on the Inspiralized web site—not a flavorless one in the bunch. Nuts and olives are among the most health-boosting foods you can eat, so add them in liberally too.
Eating healthy can be the most delicious journey of your life. There might still be times when you want your favorite less-healthy meals, but after you discover the taste-satisfying flavors of real healthy foods, you won’t feel deprived often. As for those rice cakes still languishing in your pantry, maybe your backyard birds would enjoy them. The quinoa? Send it to someone who has already lost their sense of taste.