The other day someone made me one of the best lemon meringue pies I have ever come across. As I was enjoying each bite, I had no doubt that the winning ingredient was the freshly squeezed lemon juice. There was no lemon concentrate, diluted lemon juice or lemon essence. It was the real deal and that made it so much more delicious. These days it’s so easy to go with what’s quick and convenient, but too often that goes hand in hand with processed, artificial and high in salt or fat content. So much of the pleasure of eating is about the taste, so what can we do to get all the good flavours we’re after?
Take the time to taste your food. If there are many ingredients but all you can taste is one overwhelming ingredient, e.g. mayonnaise, then the chances are good the meal is high in fat or high in sugar. Tasting the various flavours is part of what makes a meal enjoyable.
Be selective when you are shopping. Go for the freshest ingredients that you can afford. Choose foods in their most natural form. It’s healthier, you know what you’re getting, and it’s generally not as expensive as buying an altered or ready-made version of the food.
When you opt for take-aways, choose one that gives you a good balance of carbs, protein and salad/veg. The more it looks like something healthy and fresh you would have made at home the better!
Question the claims on food products. While the laws are changing regarding what can and can’t be written on packaging, you should still read them carefully. Does the “Lite” refer to colour, calories, or is it just the name of the product?
Check ingredient lists. If you’re eating an oats bar but oats is only 7th on the list, you’re getting a whole lot of other stuff which you weren’t actually going for in the first place.
If you have the space, plant your own herbs or vegetables. The best tomato I’ve ever had came straight off the vine in the garden!
There’s no question that real food tastes better than highly processed foods, and it just takes some awareness and small changes in behaviour and food choices to reap the benefits of eating healthy, natural, fresh foods. We should all be championing “real deal” eating, and doing so one meal at a time. And while desserts are delicious any time of the day, remember to rather go for proper well-balanced food first to fill you up, and then a little something sweet afterwards if you really want it.