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How to Make Diet Foods Taste…Bad for You

Posted Nov 14 2013 10:44am

There's just something about diving into a late-night snack filled with all sorts of "bad for you" ingredients. Whether it's nacho chips decked out in cheese, meat, and sour cream or six-alarm chili with all the trimmings, food that's bad for you tastes so much better most of the time.

But what if you could make your diet foods – you know, foods that are actually good for you – taste as mouth-watering delicious as the foods that aren't? Sounds impossible, right? Not so fast.

Research indicates that you can do just that. Here are a few simple ways you can take to make your diet foods taste like your favorite heart attack on a stick.

Use Stainless Steel Cutlery.

A recent Men's Health News article cites an Oxford University Study which indicated that using stainless steel instead of plastic cutlery gives the impression that your food is more flavorful. Hmm, really?


Eat with stainless steel cutlery to make your food taste better.

According to the study, when participants were given identical samples of yogurt, those eating with stainless steel spoons rated the yogurt at 5.5 while those eating with plastic spoons gave a rating of 4.6. The theory is that people associate stainless steel with higher quality restaurants, while plastic cutlery is commonly associated with fast food.

Create a Food Ritual.

A July 2013 paper entitled "Rituals Enhance Consumption" tested the theory that ritualistic behaviors actually enhance the consumption of food. Simple acts, such as snapping photographs of your meal prior to eating , can help you enjoy your meals better and feel more satisfied by the foods you eat.


Taking a picture of your cottage cheese can make it taste more yummy. Okay, if you say so.

Of course, it doesn't have to relate only to snapping photos. It can be small rituals such as saying grace, singing happy birthday, setting the table, or even cutting the food on your plate into tiny, bite-sized pieces. The theory is that the rituals involved focus your mind on what you're doing, allowing you to have greater enjoyment, or involvement, in the moment. So, the next time you're eating a healthy meal, pull out your camera phone and snap away.

Use Herbs and Other Ingredients for More Flavor.

It is not necessary to eliminate all hope of flavor in order to eat healthy. In fact, flavorless food is less satisfying, which often leads to over-indulging. Simple solutions involve using more herbs and spices in the preparation of health foods, according to this U.S. News Health article .

Things like sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, and even low-fat cheese added to dough prior to baking can leave you feeling more satisfied with the flavor of your pizza crusts, rolls, and breads. Adding sharp grated cheeses and dried fruits to food adds a nice burst of flavor, as does marinating foods in low-sodium marinades – particularly those that are tangy, sweet, or savory.

Have Someone Else Prepare Your Food.

Here's the theory: You're more likely to find the food satisfying and full of flavor if someone else prepares it for you. When you prepare a meal yourself, you anticipate the flavor while you're making the food. When someone else prepares the food for you, that mental anticipation isn't quite the same.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University believe this is due to extended exposure to the food being prepared. Experiencing the making of the meal, in this case a sandwich, makes the sandwich less desirable. It's sort of like the law of diminishing returns in action. The first bite of a desirable dish is the most desirable (and most satisfying).

These great tips will help you add the flavor diet foods often lack so you can hopefully enjoy them just as much (or close to it, anyway) as you enjoy foods that are notoriously bad for you. Put them to work today and see what a difference they make for your diet efforts.

Have you tried any of these tips or other tips to make your "diet food" taste better? Did they work?

Freelance writer Elizabeth Magill is an author who writes articles, blog posts, news stories, guides, and ebooks on a variety of topics, including health, medical, and many business topics including Reputation.com reviews .

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