Why Does Bad Food Taste So Good?

One of the great mysteries of the universe: why do foods that are bad for you taste oh so good?

As a mom-of-three with a serious sweet tooth and salty tooth, I ponder this question often.  I consider myself an overall healthy eater, but I have some weaknesses that I just can’t seem to overcome.

Chocolate, and all sweets are my cryptonite.  And they are also my gateway to salty snacks – chips, pretzels, popcorn.  The sweet/salty combo really do go hand-in-hand for me and I notice how even one small bite of chocolate seems to send me on a downward spiral of binge-snacking.

One way that I have attempted to overcome these vicious cravings is to not overcome them at all.  Instead, I turn these typical cravings into slightly healthier options.  For instance, if I really really really need to have some chips, I make sure the chips I buy are organic veggie chips, or low sodium, or whole grain.  We also love popcorn but the microwaveable bags often contain strange chemicals that you just don’t need.  We favor making popcorn in a pot on the stove (using olive oil and salt), or using an air-popper instead.  On my best days, I turn to salted nuts or a salted cucumber or avocado instead of the usual carbs.

If I’m buying sweets, I also stick to the organic food aisle and peruse options for healthy-er ice cream (sometimes coconut or almond milk vs. dairy or at least lactose-free).  There are amazing options for the icecream-lover that are low in fat, carbs, and calories, while still using natural ingredients.  I have often blended honey, Greek Yogurt, peanut butter, and a banana and then frozen it for my own homemade frozen yogurt.  Slicing a banana and serving it with honey & cinnamon, or organic dark chocolate chips and whipped cream creates instant not-terrible-for-you desserts.  Using seasonal fruit – like peaches or berries in the summertime- with nuts, honey, and whipped cream are terrific for sweet tooth satisfaction.  I also make microwaveable individual brownies using cocoa powder, almond flour, brown sugar, salt & water. Desserts like these keep the portions small and you know every ingredient you’re eating.

We are also fortunate to have the internet at the ready for all of our cravings.  Need a recipe?  Google it, go to Pinterest, and try to search for healthy alternatives for your typical cravings.  There are so many good substitutes for foods we take for granted – Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream,  and Honey or Stevia instead of white sugar, for example.

Small changes like this can make a difference in your guilt and the damage you do to your body when you give in to your normal cravings.  You don’t have to ignore or avoid cravings, just change the way you react to them, and keep everything in moderation!

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