Tasty, healthy food

The Kid was helping me prepare dinner the other night. He was chopping tomatoes; I was chopping onions. We were talking about upcoming Thursday night’s dinner.

“Swiss chard is so good. And it’s healthy! Which makes it perfect!”

“Did you know there are people who think that healthy food can’t be tasty?”

“WHAT?! Well, they should try Swiss chard … And I bet they’ve never heard of tomatoes. Just hamburgers and carrots. I’m not really a fan of raw carrots.”

I had a good chuckle at many aspects of that, including anyone on a fast food-based diet being offered chard as an introduction to tasty, healthy food.

To switch the mindset to enjoying healthy food, there are a few potential considerations.

Part is finding foods or meals that are close enough to what you’re used to that you don’t reject them before you’ve tried them (or being open to “weird” foods … but most people find it easier to try familiar-ish foods first).

Part is letting your taste buds acclimate to the taste of unprocessed food. (Junk food—sweet or not—tastes different when you haven’t had it for a long time. Much of it will become undesirable over time.)

Part is not believing that any “healthy replacement” is actually going to taste like what it’s a substitute for. It’s not. It doesn’t. That doesn’t mean it’s not good. I’ve had some amazing burgers made out of all sorts of not-meaty things. But they’re not burgers.

And part is believing that food can be healthy and tasty, that eating well is not a drag or a punishment. Occasionally, I really want crap and I eat well instead, and I’m not excited about it, but our daily meals? They’re tasty. I enjoy eating them, for the most part. And they’re healthy.

You can get there, too. Takes time, takes effort, but it’s possible.

Just ask The Kid.

Oh, and the chard recipe? It’s here. We add the equivalent of a can of chickpeas for bulk and protein and are more generous with the parm; we serve it over rice. For three of us, I double it. And it’s delicious.

And if you have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you should make your chickpeas instead of buying canned. They’re substantially better. (You don’t need a pressure cooker, but you can make them with little notice in one.)

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