How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

One of the biggest reasons why people resist starting to eat healthy is they don’t want to give up the food they love.  They look at “healthy” food as something that isn’t tasty, desirable, or something they would love.

I mean, the thought of never having another pizza, coke, or cheesecake again can be very, very difficult concept.  This is especially if you’re changing to a lifestyle where you’re just eating carrots and celery sticks and can only have bland chicken breast for dinner, right?

Except, there’s this one thing…  It’s just not true.

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate your Food

The good news is you can totally have the things you love AND eat healthy.  You just need to have a plan that makes sense and works for you.  In this post, I’m gonna show you how to eat healthy and not hate your food.

So, let me start by explaining what my plan is and what has worked for me.  Because, if you’re here on this blog, I know one very important thing: you enjoy food.

Good news: I enjoy food, too.  A lot.  And I refuse to eat bland chicken breasts for dinner with bland broccoli and bland carrot sticks for snacks.

Making Healthier Choices

One of the first steps in eating healthy is making better, healthier food choices.  I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time going cold turkey and removing things that I’m used to. I have routines and dependencies on things that need to be weened.  Or I won’t be successful.

Take coffee and creamer, for example.  I used to drink at least one cup of strong coffee every morning with about 2 tbsp. granulated sugar and sweetened, Hazelnut creamer. There was a time when I would have said I would never function without it.

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

Nowadays, I don’t even think about coffee in the morning.  I don’t crave it.  I don’t need it to wake up.  I don’t even really like it when I randomly have it on a cheat day.

How did I accomplish this?   While I was inclined to go crazy and cut it out at first, I found that just didn’t work.  So, I started slow.  The first day, I removed about 1/2 tablespoon of sugar from my normal amount.  The, when I got used to that after a few days, I removed another 1/2 tablespoon.  Then, I started using unsweetened creamers, like half and half.  Each time, I removed a small piece of what was unhealthy and, slowly, I became less and less dependent on the coffee and creamer I had become so obsessed with.

Then, one day, I didn’t even feel like drinking my coffee.  I didn’t feel like I “needed” it.  I finally felt in control over the coffee, in control of my thinking and my body.  And it was amazing.

Other Ways To Make Small Steps

Taking baby steps works for other things, just like it did for me and my coffee.  Here’s a list of ideas for how to get started taking small steps towards eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet and taking control of your food and your health:

  • Mayonnaise: First, try to remove 1/4 of what you normally use.  Then, remove a little more.  One day, you might even try not even using mayonnaise or replacing it with avocado spread or full fat plain greek yogurt
  • Soda: If you drink 4 sodas a day, try not finishing your first one or waiting just a little longer in between when you have them.  Then, remove one soda one day until you’re able to work on eliminating the next one and so on.
  • Salt: Slowly, start removing just a little salt here and there when you’re cooking or seasoning your food.  Choose foods that aren’t as high in salt and you’ll start craving salt less and less.

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

  • Sugar: First, start reducing the amount of sugar you use in your foods.  Even if it’s just a teaspoon here and there, that’s an improvement.  Once you start removing processed sugar, you can try raw or unrefined sugars that aren’t overly processed, like turbinado sugar or coconut sugar (two of my faves).
  • Bread: Garlic bread, sandwiches, french toast, croutons can all be made with whole wheat and whole grain breads.  First , try reducing the amount of sandwiches you eat.  Start getting used to foods without bread, then slowly start adding in whole grain breads that use unrefined flours and aren’t highly processed.

Healthy Food Replacements

There are so many ways to eat healthier and still enjoy your food.  Making the choice to eat healthy is to remove unnecessary fats, sugars, and carbs from your diet. It’s about making better, more nutritious choices for your body. This means embracing vegetables, whole foods, unrefined grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, even if a little at a time.

Here are some examples of healthy food replacements you can start using to eat healthier:

Carbs To Look For:

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

  • Old fashioned (rolled) oatmeal
  • Steel cut oats
  • Fruit (raw produce)
  • Ezekial and other 100% whole grain breads
  • Vegetables
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Brown rice

Carbs To Avoid:

  • Instant oatmeal
  • Granola bars
  • Sugary cereals
  • Candy
  • Chips
  • Soda
  • Fruit juice
  • Ice cream

Fats To Look For:

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

Fats To Avoid:

  • Margarine
  • Shortening
  • Bottled salad dressings

How To Eat Clean For Beginners - Download

Proteins To Look For:

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

Proteins To Avoid:

  • Chicken skin
  • Processed deli meats
  • Bacon
  • Fatty ground beef (below 85% lean)
  • Hot dogs
  • Breaded or fried chicken or pork

Getting Creative

You may have noticed on the blog that I still share sweets and breads and tasty foods like burgers and pasta.  And, you’ve probably noticed that I refer to these recipes as “clean” or “healthy.”  The way I do this is I’ve become very creative at making delicious foods using sneaky ingredients.  Once you get started, it gets easier and easier and you find yourself being able to enjoy all the foods you love, but in a healthier form.  How cool is that?

For example, let me break down some of my favorite healthy recipes and explain to you how I used creativity to make the recipe healthy.

4 Ingredient Cantaloupe Sorbet Cantaloupe Sorbet | 4 ingredients + no ice cream machine needed. www.asweetpeachef.com

  • I take fresh cantaloupe, freeze it, and then puree it without needing any preservatives or additives
  • I use honey to sweeten, rather than a simple syrup made out of refined sugars
  • The recipe only includes water, cantaloupe, honey, and lemon juice so it’s basic, but a delicious, sweet sorbet and is a great replacement for ice cream

Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food | Healthy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • I added shredded zucchini which adds fiber and nutrients
  • I use unrefined, organic, virgin coconut oil instead of processed vegetable oil
  • To replace additional oil, I used unsweetened applesauce

Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls | Delicious, healthy, and clean burrito bowls that use slow cooker shredded chicken and cauliflower rice | www.asweetpeachef.com

  • Instead of rice, I made cauliflower rice that is high in fiber, low in carbohydrates, and full of nutrients
  • I braised the chicken in the slow cooker and didn’t need to add any fats or oils
  • Instead of adding a high-calorie and high-carb tortilla, I put all the ingredients into a bowl

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcakes With Whipped Cream Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake + Vegan Whipped Cream Topping

  • No refined sugars at all – instead, I used a little coconut sugar
  • Instead of making the shortcakes with refined sugar, I used high-protein and high-fiber almond meal
  • I made a whipped cream topping using coconut milk and no butter or powdered sugar

Baked Eggs In Spaghetti Squash Nests Baked Eggs In Spaghetti Squash Nests

  • Instead of using refined flours for the “muffins,” I made them out of roasted spaghetti squash noodles
  • I used chickpea flour instead of all-purpose flour which is high in protein and nutrients (and is gluten-free)
  • The spaghetti noodles give the feel of hash browns and are super good

Chocolate Chia Pudding Chocolate Chia Pudding

  • I use no refined sugars, but used pureed dates to sweeten
  • Instead of real pudding, I use chia seeds which have the same texture and are high in protein, antioxidants, and fiber
  • The topping is made using greek yogurt and pure maple syrup so it is high in protein and avoids refined sugars and heavy cream

Lemon Blueberry High Protein Pancakes Lemon Blueberry Protein Pancakes

  • Instead of flour, I use protein powder, cottage cheese, and oats
  • I use a greek yogurt topping sweetened with honey instead of syrup
  • I use egg whites for added protein and less fat

The Glory Of Cheat Days

Best Buttermilk Fried Chicken Recipe Guess what?  I eat pizza and fried chicken and cheesecake and doughnuts and I drink coke and coffee and all those greasy, fatty, high-carb, unhealthy foods. BUT I eat them only on cheat days at most once a week. What’s a cheat day?  Well, every week, I set aside one day where I allow myself to enjoy the foods I used to love before starting this healthier, cleaner lifestyle.  Basically, I forgive myself for eating these foods because it’s planned and part of my diet plan and I’m rocking it on all the other days.

And, once I have my burger or pizza or margarita or whatever, I go back to my normal healthy eating.  And this works well for me. The funny thing is I usually don’t even enjoy the cheat days as much as I think I will because I find the foods too salty or too sweet or too greasy.  I actually can’t wait to get back onto my normal, healthy foods as soon as possible.

Chocolate Doughnuts | Delicious baked chocolate doughnuts with a chocolate glaze. www.asweetpeachef.com Some people choose their cheat days to actually be cheat meals.  So, one day they could have a cheat breakfast (i.e. pancakes), then a cheat lunch on another day and then a cheat dinner or dessert, and so on.  While this works for some people, I found this allows me too much flexibility in my eating schedule and I start to cheat more and more because I justify it’s a cheat meal.  Rather, on a cheat day, I have the whole day to get it out of my system and then move on.  And it’s pretty darn glorious, let me tell you.

How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

 

What Do You Think?

Now, it’s time to get started.  If there’s a certain unhealthy food you love that you want to make into a healthier version, let me know in the comments! If you’d like to get started eating healthier, click here to learn about how to eat clean for beginners.


How To Eat Clean For Beginners - Download

This post was last updated on January 13, 2016 to include new images.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

35 thoughts on “How To Eat Healthy And Not Hate Your Food

  1. So I hate to start jumping and doing mindful cartwheels but I think this website is about to change MY LIFE – and yes for the better!!!! – I am still looking for page 1 of this beauty, I am reading everything and anything, taking good notes! and feeling ready to make all those changes 1 small step at a time, I like how you guide us through weaning off the ” non natural food” – no idea if you’re reading this – but THANK YOU! – from a brand new fan. I may even buy the 30 day meal plan just to support you! 🙂

  2. I like the idea of eating burgers and pasta still but changing something so that they are healthier meals. I love the food I eat now but I know I need to eat healthier. I’ll look into substituting some of the fats and proteins in my meals to healthier options.

  3. You said right” mayonnaise, soda is damaging to the health completely. If someone is totally depending upon these things his stomach is totally damaged. We should avoid these things and try to eat healthy fruits and vegetables.

  4. Finding you was a blessing ! Made your honey mustard chicken with the sweet potatoes abs broccoli meal prep for my husband. My so upset it was only enough for him for 5 days. Next time I will double it so I can have it too. OMG SO TASTY. I love your writting style and advise from you sounds totally possible. Some writers don’t have that back. CAnt wait to try more of your recipes.

  5. very good article. nice information about healthy food but healthy food is so expensive low-class people can’t bear that much price . can u write about low-cost healthy foods, please . this article gives good information

    1. Sorry, my mistake. There is a tab for recipes up top. 5 star article. Loved the suggestions for removing unhealthy items. The list of healthy and unhealthy was most helpful. I read a lot about healthy choices and I find it very confusing because there is sooo much conflicting information. Love your post!!

  6. Healthy keeps you happy, I always prefer for a healthy food even if it’s not tastier and to be honest healthy foods are never tasty but the quote ” happy to see another day” keeps my being away from all the junks. article information is truly good.thanks for the share.

  7. You’ve got great tips for eating healthier. I like how you said that raw produce is one of the great ways to get carbs. Fruits and things are some of my favorite snacks, so that’s good to know.

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  9. Wow this article is amazing and believe everyone who wants to learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes should read this. The part that resinated with me the most was how you talked about not going cold turkey and gave the example how you cut coffee from your diet. I did this exact same thing, and still doing it will other health choices. I truly believe when people slowing make changes they are more effective for longer term results. People need to understand it’s not a diet it’s about making healthy lifestyle choices. It takes 21-66 days to form a habit, so be patient and consistent. The results will follow and you will be much happier in the long run.

  10. I just registered a spot in your “Free” How to Quit Sugar online class. The date is August 23rd. Is that 2017? Or was that from last year, and if so will you be giving it again soon?

  11. Thanks for sharing this information. To gain a proper weight you have to avoid that food which contains more fiber.

  12. What a great post! Excellent recipe also instructive. All of these foods images looks so beautiful. Can you please let me know about coconut oil’s helpful side?

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  14. I am looking for ways to eat better and lead a healthier lifestyle. It is good to know that reducing the amount of sugar intake can make a big difference. Something else to consider would be to eat more natural foods. It think that this would be beneficial for the digestive system.

  15. hello. I have recently started trying to eat better. I am in college and am currently in a nutrition class. everyone swears by coconut oil. but I do not understand. it has an incredibly high amount of saturated fat and hardly any monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. while olive oil is the opposite. So why do so many people use olive oil? Also, when trying to lose weight is it best to completely cut out carbs even brown rice and whole wheat bread and substitute them for your cauliflower rice for example. also, does it really make a difference in the type of flour you us? I have been using whole wheat flour and cut out all purpose. But I have seen so many other kinds such as almond, buckwheat, coconut.

  16. This is all great, useful information. .I have been eating and living this way for the last 25-30 yrs and I can testify it has done wonders for me, but I can’t get it through my daughter’s lifestyle. ..I’d love some advice on this..I don’t push anything into her, but I feel exhausted of trying to be supportive and helpful preparing the best healthy and nutritious meals I think I’m capable of, but all along I’ve seen very little improvement, very little change in her lifestyle approach. .what else can I do? (She’s 27 yrs old)

  17. This is great. What kinds of breads have almond flour? What types of bread are good for sandwiches? Do I have to make my own?

  18. In my opinion it is all about your attitude. I also hate taste of olive oil. However, when I think how healthy it is, it even tastes better:) I have recently read an article where author said that it is great to it 90% of healthy food per day and 10% of food that you like. What do you think about that?

    1. I totally agree about attitude – it can really help you or hurt you and is so valuable to pay attention to. I’ve heard the 90/10 idea also presented as the 80/20 rule where you do your absolute best 80% of the time and don’t kill yourself over the 20%. I think this is a healthy way to approach healthy eating and, as long as you’re making those positive choices 80 or 90 percent of the time, you’re probably going to still see results and feel great. I find each day allowing that to sneak up too much for me so I leave one cheat day to get all that out. It’s still a percentage of my overall eating, just on a day, rather than every day. I hope that makes sense!

    1. Yeah, I don’t understand what is so terrible about butter in moderation. I definitely don’t feel it is as bad as margarine. And I personally hate the taste of olive oil. I use butter, coconut oil and sunflower oil usually.

      1. There are a lot of people who believe butter is a good source of fat in their diets. Personally, I choose olive oil and coconut oil for savory and sweet recipes and avoid butter for its high saturated fat content.

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