Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nutritional tip

5 Ways to Love the Foods You Hate
By Bridget Kelly
eDiets Contributor

Have you typically chalked up your failure to eat enough produce to the fact that you hate vegetables?

The bad news is that by avoiding the foods you don't like, you may be depriving your body of valuable nutrients, and making weight loss harder by limiting your options. The good news? You can teach your taste buds to enjoy the foods at which you once turned up your nose.

1. Grant them a second chance. Maybe you didn't know your palate, like most other things, matures as you get older. In other words, if you were five years old when you declared your hatred for beets, it may be time to put them through another taste test. You might be surprised at what you've been missing all of these years.

2. Remember: One bad apple does not spoil the bunch. If the word "vegetable" conjures visions of much-maligned cabbage or lima beans, it's time to broaden your produce horizons. With hundreds of veggies out there, many with vastly diverse tastes and textures, it's unlikely that you'll hate every one of them.

The key is finding those best suited to your palate. Don't like beets or Brussels sprouts? Perhaps you prefer sweet, starchy foods? Then a sweet potato or sugar-snap peas fit the bill. If you like something a bit bitter, perhaps collard greens are more to your liking. If spicy is your style, jicama or roasted red peppers might be the right vegetables for you.

3. Resolve your health-food issues. If you're prone to declarations like, "I don't eat white meat, only dark," or "I can't do skim milk," setting such definitive parameters for yourself can make succeeding at weight loss less likely. Dark meat is rich in saturated fat and should be limited in a healthy diet, leaving you with miniscule portion sizes you won't find satisfying.

same goes for whole dairy products. The bottom line is that there are some changes you simply must accommodate if you want to be successful at losing weight and improving your health.

Think about why you don't like a particular food and how you can make it more appetizing. If white meat is too dry, for instance, try different cooking methods, such as roasting, which helps keep the meat moist. Try Skim Plus, which is formulated to have a consistency more like whole milk. If one oatmeal or whole-grain bread is too bland, try a different brand.

4. Seek out flavor sponges. If you truly can't find vegetables or soy products with flavors you find tasty, choose the ones that act like sponges -- taking on the essence of whatever it is you're cooking, such as mushrooms, eggplant and tofu.

Add them to a stir-fry and they'll taste like the soy sauce, cook them in Marsala wine and they'll absorb that flavor, etc. Before long, you'll start thinking of these foods in terms of the endless possibilities you can cook them in -- rather than the raw flavors you associate with them now.

5. When all else fails, put on a mask. Why was salad dressing invented? Perhaps it was for people who don't like the taste of raw veggies. Makes sense, right? Choose a low-fat or fat-free variety, and the dressing will make each crunch on those nutrient-rich plants, guilt-free and enjoyable. Other flavor enhancers can serve the same purpose for low-fat meats and whole-grain breads.

Spice things up a bit with hot sauce, garlic, ginger, balsamic vinegar, chili paste, honey mustard, spices and herbs. Add texture with wheat germ, or a touch of sweetness with honey. The possibilities are endless?