Curb­ing your crav­ings by mas­ter­ing the palate

Re­pro­gram­ming the palate to crave health­ier food


Ice cream, Chee­tos, M&M’s, in­stant noo­dles—we’ve all craved for th­ese one time or an­other. Even if th­ese in­dul­gences are kept on a once-a-week ba­sis, that on­cea-week can quickly turn into once-a-day. Be­fore you know it, you’re eat­ing cook­ies to­day, munch­ing on Dori­tos tomorrow, and de­vour­ing bag­net af­ter that.

Why do we crave for un­healthy food so of­ten? It’s be­cause it’s what our palates are used to. Once you start con­sum­ing salty or sug­ary food on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, it in­evitably de­vel­ops into a habit. Thank­fully, like any bad habit, there are ways to kick it. Sure, it’ll take a lot of dis­ci­pline, but it works to stop the vi­cious cy­cle of pick­ing up a bar of chocolate ev­ery time you’re feel­ing stressed or low. Here are some steps you can take to re­set your taste buds to crave health­ier food op­tions.

Cut back on the sugar

We’re not just talk­ing about the oc­ca­sional ice cream cone or chocolate bar. If you can, try to re­duce sugar in all of your food and drink in­take. That means leav­ing it out in your cof­fee, avoid­ing iced teas and so­das (es­pe­cially so­das!), and shy­ing away from food with any added sugar (e.g. pan­cakes with syrup, and ce­real). This is go­ing to be tough, but once you get into a rou­tine where you ac­tively se­lect non-sug­ary food op­tions, you’re on the right track.

Ditch pro­cessed food com­pletely

Pro­cessed food changes the way our palates re­act to food. Be­cause of the high salt, sugar, and fat con­tent in pro­cessed food, any­thing with­out the same high-level con­tent won’t be as “tasty” to us. So, to go back to lik­ing whole foods again, kick pro­cessed food out the door. This in­cludes pro­cessed sug­ars (as men­tioned ear­lier), fast food, canned goods, chips, hot­dogs, ba­con, pasta, and white rice. It may be a lot to let go of, but this will make a huge change in your taste bud re­pro­gram­ming and your health.

Start con­sum­ing whole

If you’re one of those peo­ple who have dif­fi­culty cut­ting back on rice, that’s okay—there’s an al­ter­na­tive. Whole foods like brown rice, whole grain pasta and bread are great ad­di­tions to your diet when you’re do­ing a palate detox. Not only are you re­duc­ing your sugar in­take, you’re also con­sum­ing ad­di­tional fiber and get­ting your palate used to the taste of health­ier food. This is also a great time to start eat­ing more veg­eta­bles and fruits. Try adding a salad with ev­ery meal (with home­made dress­ing, of course) and hav­ing fruits for snacks. Af­ter a good few weeks of con­sum­ing only whole foods, you won’t even crave for the bad stuff any­more.

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