In order to fully enjoy healthy nutritious foods, it’s important to manage your taste expectations. Have you ever picked up your cup and taken a sip, expecting it to be milk, and it was juice? Or, you thought something was going to be sweet, but when you tasted it, it was sour or salty? If you knew there was juice in the cup when you took the sip, then you would have expected it to taste like juice. If you knew the pastry you picked up was sweet, you’d expect sweet, not salty, when you bit into it. But, when your cup contains juice and you think it’s milk, that first sip is confusing and shocking. So it is, sometimes, with the new healthy food choices you’re making a part of your fitness lifestyle.
I came face to face with this phenomenon again the other day. I had a delicious chocolate chip protein cookie from BioTrust. Now, I’m used to eating all kinds of cooking experiments, from sugar free, to gluten free, to low carb. I’ve tried them all. I think it’s amazing when something is truly healthy for you (like gluten free, sugar free, and all natural) and also tastes good! So, when I bit into my first BioTrust chocolate chip protein cookie, I kind of knew what to expect. Was I expecting that moist melted-chocolate hot from the oven buttery sugary chocolate chip cookies mom used to make? Of course not. I was expecting dry and boring and hoping for something slightly better.
So, when I got my first taste … I thought it was great! Why? Because I expected “healthy”, not homemade dessert quality, and I actually got a pretty close version, taste-wise, of the full fat/sugar/gluten variety. And, that, my friends, is what it’s all about. It’s about managing your taste expectations. When you train your brain and your tastebuds to appreciate the more subtle sweetness of fruits and natural flavors, you can start to really enjoy (and look forward to!) some healthier versions of your former junky treats.
You develop a taste for … tastes. You weren’t born liking coffee, tea, beer, wine, liquor, or many other more adult foods and drinks. You acquired a taste for these things. The good news is, you can also acquire a taste for healthier food choices. You can learn to live with less creamer in your coffee. You can develop a liking for unsweetened iced tea, a simple plate of juicy fruits for dessert, or your morning oatmeal with blueberries and nuts, instead of sugar and flavorings.
No, your palate won’t change overnight. But, given time, your tastes can change for the better. Usually, within a week or two, you will be able to fully transition to less sugar, less artificial flavors and more natural goodness. Once you recalibrate your tastebuds and your mind, you, too, will bite into a protein cookie and exclaim, “This is delicious!” It’s all about what you’re expecting. It’s all about perspective.