Healthy can mean tasty too

If you tell people that you are serving them healthy food, chances are, they would crinkle their noses and think that it won't taste good - even before trying anything.

Sure, it can be true.

What is mashed potatoes without that buttery brown sauce?

And would you pick that poached chicken breast over deep-fried chicken wings? No way.

In that regard, we are much like the Americans - research studies have shown that people in the United States strongly perceive unhealthy food as being more tasty.

A similar study was conducted in France recently.

In a twist, the results turned out to be quite the opposite.

The study, published in 2012, found that the French associate unhealthy food with bad taste.

The participants also rated food that is described as "healthy" as being tastier and of better quality than when described as unhealthy.

You may think they are crazy, but experts believe that you can, indeed, grow to genuinely like healthy food, with repeated exposure and by giving yourself time to adapt.

In a recent experiment, a group of people had to take a bittersweet drink every day for one week.

Seven in 10 ended up liking the drink more than they did before.

Of course, you do not have to go to such extremes.

Once, I made mashed potatoes with low-fat milk instead of the usual full-cream milk.

I also did not add any cream.

The people who ate it were perfectly happy with it - I did not tell them the recipe was a healthier one.

If I did, perhaps they would find some fault with it. Who knows?

Healthy food doesn't have to be super bland or super boring.

Minor tweaks to your usual recipes will do the trick - such as replacing butter with olive oil and baking food instead of frying it - and such tweaks don't always compromise on taste.

The key, perhaps, is not to keep thinking of such dishes as "healthy".

Instead, just treat such a dish as you would any regular meal.

Don't let your mind jump to a negative conclusion about a perfectly tasty dish without giving it a chance.

This article was first published on December 11, 2014.
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