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.