Remember when you were a kid? You played, went to school, slept, ate…and never really gave any of life much thought. Feed your inner child? You were your inner child, and that cute little girl was totally in control of fulfilling your every wish and desire.
When it came to food, you ate what was put in front of you, usually bolting it down as quickly as possible so you could get back to the fun you were having before. As kids, we didn’t think about calories, how much fat or sodium was in what we were eating, whether or not it was organic, sustainable, locally grown, or any of the other long list of criteria that influences our decision making as adults.
What did we focus on? Whether or not it tasted good. Plain and simple.
One of the biggest resistance to eating healthy whole foods that I hear is “but that stuff just doesn’t taste as good!” It’s that desire cropping up to feed your inner child, to give yourself things that feel good, that taste good. Somehow, we’ve been lead to believe that if something is good for us, it doesn’t taste good. That we have to give up on joy to be healthy. You feed your rational grown-up mind and forget to feed your inner child.
It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way!
Healthy food can be delicious. We’ve just been taught that it’s not.
- Your tastebuds have been hijacked. All those natural and artificial flavors in processed foods are chemically engineered to addict your tastebuds to flavors that just don’t exist in nature. They are also super-sized flavors, meaning your tastebuds just don’t react to the real flavor of real food in quite the same way.
- You’ve experienced poorly prepared foods. Mushy vegetables, tough and over-cooked meat, under-ripe fruits, and over-cooked grains simply don’t taste good.
- You haven’t figured out what healthy foods you love to eat yet. If you’ve been relying on a lot of processed foods, the idea of cooking whole foods from scratch can feel intimidating. Try a few recipes, nothing is fantastic, and it’s easy to get discouraged.
So, what’s a girl to do? If you’re going to succeed at healthy eating, you’ve got to feed your inner child too. The winning formula is food that tastes good and is good for you.
Tips to Feed Your Inner Child
If you’re struggling with eating healthy foods on a regular basis, odds are one of your challenges is that healthy food doesn’t taste good. To feed your inner child foods that taste good and are good for you, check out some of these tips:
- Find Ways to Eat Foods You Love: Think about the things that you loved to eat before you started changing your diet. There are always healthier ways to prepare these same kinds of foods at home. Used to live on taco bell burritos? Try grilling a chicken breast and some peppers and onions, slicing them thinly and filling a whole grain tortilla with them along with some fresh salsa or guacamole instead. Whatever your old stand-by was, feed your inner child with foods that are familiar yet healthy now so the change doesn’t feel so drastic.
- Treat Yourself: If you’re going to feed your inner child, she’s going to want treats. Breaking up a square of dark chocolate and letting each piece melt in your mouth can satisfy just about any chocolate craving. Make homemade popsicles out of fresh fruit blended with coconut milk. Bake cookies with whole grains and maple syrup. Treat yourself a few times a week to these healthy alternatives.
- Always Have a Go-To Plan: You worked late, had to run to the bank on the way home, and you walk in the door absolutely starving. Your first impulse is to grab something quick and easy, which unfortunately is rarely healthy. Have a go-to plan of 2-3 quick and easy meal ideas that include ingredients you always have in the house. An omelet stuffed with whatever vegetables happen to be in the fridge, a good quality can of soup (made with only whole-food ingredients), or pita and veggie sticks with humus are all easy and delicious meals that can be on the table in minutes. Add a salad to any of them for bonus points! Feed your inner child fast and easy foods that are also healthy on busy days to keep yourself on track.
- Change Takes Time: If you’ve ever embarked on a reduced sodium diet, you know that when you first started it nothing tasted good – it was all bland. Over time, your tastebuds got used to the lack of salt and started picking up on all of the other wonderful flavors and when you do have salty foods you find them overly salty now. That change didn’t happen overnight. Feed your inner child by being gentle with yourself, acknowledging that change can feel difficult and stick with it for the long haul.
What are your tips to feed your inner child? How do you make sure your tastebuds are satisfied while your body is being nourished? What are you going to do differently to feed your inner child?
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