Xanet Scheepers
Digital Lifestyle Editor
2 minute read
23 Jan 2022
6:14 pm

How to train your taste buds to enjoy healthier foods

Xanet Scheepers

You don’t have to give up your favourite foods, you just need to train your taste buds to enjoy healthier versions of your favourite meals and treats.

Picture: iStock

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we only ever craved broccoli, fruit, chicken breasts and kale?

Giving up your favourite foods is probably one of the hardest things to do, but it’s something we all consider at one point or another during the year.

Some of us manage to train our taste buds to enjoy healthier foods quite successfully, while others give in to their cravings for chocolate, ice cream and all things nice after only a couple of days.

Research shows that fewer than 50% of people who make a New Year’s resolution will have stuck to it three months in.

But what if it was possible to still have your chocolate and eat it, without gaining weight?

Yes, you read that correctly, you don’t have to ditch your chocolate to drop a dress size – you just need to change the colour of your chocolate.

If you simply cannot live without your block of chocolate every night after dinner, you should consider switching to dark chocolate as it contains higher levels of cocoa and less sugar.

Research has also shown that dark chocolate can help you control consumption after you eat.

The same applies to other foods as well. You don’t have to give up your favourite foods, you just need to prepare them in a healthier way for a while to train your brain to enjoy those flavours instead.

ALSO SEE: Daily Dish: Convenient, healthy meals prepared in 45 minutes or less

Here’s how to train your taste buds to enjoy healthier foods and chocolate:

  • Start with a chocolate that’s a little darker than you’re used to. Dark chocolate is an acquired taste, but there are a couple of options on the market that you can try. Lindt Excellence, for example, has a variety of cocoa rates that increase gradually in cocoa percentage (70%, 78%, 85%, 90%, 99%).
  • Start with the lowest percentage and stay at that level until your taste buds adapt (one to two weeks, depending on how affected your sweet tooth is), then move up again. In this way, you’re basically taking your own brain by the lobes and using the principles of gustatory habituation to move its preferences in the direction you want.
  • This brain training technique translates to other foods as well, and you’ll start to favour other foods that have less sugar in them as well. You won’t want the sugary foods and snacks as much anymore.