Why healthy food tastes bland & what to do about it

I remember one day, when I lived in England, I was getting off a bus on my way to my Harley Street Clinic – and the bus driver (who I knew from previous conversations was struggling with his weight and type 2 diabetes control) said to me loudly – “oh I know why you’re slim – you eat lettuce all day long – that tastes like eating cardboard – hahaha”. He protested that he would never eat such bland tasting food.


I also remember, one trip up north, where I ordered lunch in a café, and the side salad was plain chopped ice-berg lettuce going brown around the edges, with a few dry bits of carrot and soft mushy tasteless tomatoes. Zero dressing. Such bland, horrible tasting food, which I didn’t eat.


Our experiences shape our food likes and dislikes.


You couldn’t have paid me to eat that salad. Perhaps this type of food was what the Bus Driver man with Diabetes thought eating healthy food was? Perhaps this was all that he knew?


I think for me, the blessing is that I can cook and I feel very creative with how I can make food taste good. I know there is healthy delicious food beyond that café salad. My brain is trained to prepare the food, in a healthy way, where it tastes good. I continuously work to widen my preference of healthy food that I eat. For example, I didn’t used to like salmon or a lot of salads when I was growing up. The big motivator for me is that I know how good I will feel when I eat healthy.


Also be aware that your taste buds have been trained to prefer highly flavoured processed foods. Your taste buds become desensitized to normal healthy food. We have lost touch with the taste of natural wholesome foods and many of us don’t know who to cook healthy to preserve the taste (and therefore the nutrition) of the food.


Have you ever felt stressed out when you ‘start eating healthy’ because you don’t know what to eat or how to cook and this ‘healthy eating’ seems so different to how you normally eat, it feels impossible to keep it up?


If you answered YES – then you want to do some reflection on your food situation:


Why does healthy food taste so bland for me?
What types of foods was I raised on?


Because I have some good news – you CAN ‘retrain your taste buds’ to love healthy food! Where you will feel happy and satisfied from the foods you eat.


Here’s 5 tips to overcome lack of flavour boredom:

1) spend a couple of week to get to know your eating habits. You are a creature of habit so if you curiously observe over a few weeks you will get a very good understanding of your auto pilot food choices.

2) make gradual changes. For example, if you want to switch from a high sugar flavoured yogurt to a natural yoghurt. Start by choosing products with added sugar, but less than the product you are used to, then you may want to try mixing natural with the flavoured yoghurt and with time you will retrain your taste buds.

3) re-frame your thinking – instead of using negative words like tasteless, vile, boring, bland – say different, subtle, nutritious.

4) change your expectations. If you are expecting a headrush after eating a plate full of greens, think again! These foods are not going to stimulate the pleasure / reward centres in the brain – why? Because spinach is not cocaine! Don’t expect a food high. Fall in love with the fact eating healthy is good for your body and your mental health.

5) you are more likely to crave ‘highly flavoured foods’ if you are living under the hormones of stress. I know this from personal experience. Whenever I feel I am craving (when I am not physically hungry) I know that I need to look at my boundaries around my self care. This is your gift. When you cut back the sugar, salt and fat and get a few early nights and calm down the stress hormones. You won’t find healthy food so bland.


So be patient, remember toddlers need constant re-introduction of new foods to get used to the taste as their little taste buds are perfectly adapting. You are in control of this. You can create a magnificently healthy diet that will serve your weight loss goals.


What do you want to share about this topic? Post a comment – I’d love to hear from you.


You’ve so got this! 🤩🤩


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With love,




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