Do you just expect broccoli to taste awful and cabbage to be disgusting? Have you always dreaded the thought of eating your fruit and veg? Well it turns out that food actually can only taste as good as we will expect it to. Several studies have shown that when we expect food to taste good – it will, and when we expect it to taste bad – it will.
This is exactly why food companies put so much money into marketing their products and creating attractive packaging – so that that we expect the food will be good. This is also why restaurants pay a lot of attention to how they describe food on their menu and to how they present it – when it is described in an interesting way and presented well, we just expect it to taste better. Children in the early years of their life also pick up on cues we give them as to whether a food will taste good or not. If we grimace when eating a salad and smile just looking at chocolate cake – children notice this and their expectations of food are influenced by our behaviours.
So how can you use this to your advantage? How can you change your expectations to change how food tastes?
Well firstly, you are going to find it hard to ever get healthy if you always expect healthy food to taste bad. A key component of being able to sustain healthy habits – is being able to find enjoyment in healthy food. Healthy food can truly taste delicious… so long as you are opened minded and aren’t expecting a tasty salad to taste like French fries or some sweet blueberries to taste like cookies. So if you start expecting healthy food to taste good – you will find that it tastes much better. If you also start associating unhealthy foods – with negative ideas, it can also be easier to avoid them. If you imagine chips to taste too salty/oily and chocolate cake to taste too sweet – you really won’t enjoy the tastes of these foods as much. Your mind can help create your experience of food and so you can choose to control your mind in a way which means that you can eat more of the foods that are healthy for you.
Your taste buds will become quickly acclimatised too. The reason you feel veggies taste bad after having eaten processed foods for weeks, is because your taste buds have also become used to the excessive amounts of salt, sugar and fat in these unhealthy products. However, it you were to go for a few weeks eating better – your taste buds would even find the slight sweetness of berries as very sweet. So if you manage your expectations you can start to re-train your taste buds – and once your taste buds have changed you will just naturally expect healthy food to taste great.
So why not condition your taste buds to crave food that will enable you to lead a long and healthy life? Why not change your expectations so that you believe the foods that are going to keep you healthy will actually taste amazing? Most people don’t realise that a lot of our taste experiences are created from our beliefs and expectations about the food that we are eating. So allow your thoughts to create tastes that serve your health…