SINGAPORE - The first time I ate a burger patty that wasn't made of meat, I hated it. I felt like I was chewing on salty cardboard.
The fact that the veggie-based patty is a much healthier alternative didn't make it go down any easier.
It cemented a long-held belief of mine - and I believe, many others as well - that healthy food tastes bad.
That was a few years ago.
These days, I find myself enjoying salads more than ever and, yes, even the occasional veggie burger patty. Perhaps my taste buds got used to the cleaner flavours over time.
Some answers, perhaps, can also be found in studies on how taste can be influenced by factors that have nothing to do with the food itself.
First, food can taste better if it is served in clean, white round plates.
In a Canadian study published last November, researchers found the familiar look of the white plate enhanced the intensity of taste.
The choice of utensils also matters, based on a separate study done in Britain.
For example, a heavy bowl with a heavy spoon can make yogurt tastier, while cheeses taste saltier when eaten off a knife.
Performing a "ritual" before a meal, such as taking photos of the food, can also boost its taste.
Other acts include singing a birthday song or clinking glasses, reported another Canadian study published last July.
For those who want to eat or cook healthier meals at home, perhaps, these little tricks can help to ease the transition.
Plenty of help is also available now in the form of health-oriented cookbooks drawn up by local medical and nutrition experts.
Ultimately, healthy eating is more than just a daily habit - it can improve your life in the long run.
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