Poll: Are You a Healthy Foods Martyr?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A few years ago, when this healthy living stuff was a little newer to me and my weight loss was recent, I was much stricter about what I ate.

Oat bran with plain yogurt and ground flax, salads with no dressing, shirataki noodles, and fat-free dairy were all a regular part of my diet. Those are all healthy foods. The trouble is: I thought they tasted awful.

I made myself eat them not because I wanted to eat them, but because I thought I should be eating them. By forgoing anything sweet in my morning yogurt, leaving the dressing off my salads and swapping real noodles for low-calorie ones, I thought I was making smart decisions. I would learn to like them, I thought.

In those days, I was a features copy editor at a large daily newspaper. I often ate breakfast and lunch at my desk. I would pull out my beige and white breakfast, dry salads and other wacky creations, and my co-workers would peer over the walls diving our cubes and cringe.

Crinkling their noses, they'd ask, "You're eating that?"

"Yes," I replied with a sigh. "It's good for me."

I was a Healthy Foods Martyr, forgoing taste for nutrition. Sure, there were plenty of healthy foods that I liked, but I thought I should also eat all healthy foods--even if they didn't taste good.

Grudgingly I ate my healthy breakfast and lunch, but it's no surprise that I would often break down and overeat at dinnertime. Even though my diet was full of healthy foods I did like, for some reason I thought I should also eat foods I didn't like.

Eventually, I stopped eating foods I didn't like (like the shirataki noodles and fat-free cheese that didn't) or modified them to be more palatable (some blueberries in the plain yogurt, cooked oat bran instead of raw).

With so many good-for-you foods out there, life is too short to eat the ones you dislike. I know that kale is a really nutritious green, but spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, and mixed baby greens are also nutritious. Lower-fat dairy has much more flavor and better texture than fat-free does, in my opinion. And whole-wheat pasta is filling and nutritious.

My diet is probably healthier now that I allow myself to eat the healthy foods I like, and I overeat less than I did back then. I look forward to my next meal instead of dreading it. To me, that's worth it!

If you're having trouble learning to like any healthy food, read more:

Learn to Love Vegetables: 8 Tips
How to Meet Your Protein Needs without Meat
Whole Grains are the Whole Package
11 Dairy-Free Calcium Sources

Do you force yourself to eat healthy foods you don't like? Which ones?

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I refuse to eat food that doesn't taste good. I look at the posts of what others are eating and feel sorry for them. I hope they figure out that eating bad tasting food is completely unnecessary. You don't have to give up good tasting food to lose weight and be healthy. I do struggle with drinking water though, my doctor told me to drink more because of my kidneys, and I'm really angry about it. Report
Not this time but I have in the past. I had the same philosophy in previous diets. Age and knowledge has taught me to stop this practice. Now with that said I am participating in a challenge where I am suppose to try a new vegetable this week. I have dreaded this all week but have a plan. Today I was given a recipe for spaghetti squash and can't wait to try it out. :)

Good luck everyone! :) Report
While in my late 30's, I watched everything I ate, restricting fat grams, etc. ad nauseaum and altho my weight was normal, I really didn't exercise. I thought I was sooo healthy but my cholesterol was 260. My husb., who ate whatever he wanted, had a normal cholesterol. Looking back, I deprived myself of enjoying food all by trying to "eat healthy". Now I eat a balanced diet, but I EXERCISE and altho my cholesterol is still over 200, it's because the "good" cholesterol is high. Report
I do force my self to eat food that I am tired of, mainly broccoli. I love broccoli, but I've eaten it so much over the years. I still force myself to eat it because it is so good for you. One food that is good for you that I will never eat...brussel sprouts (I shudder at the thought)! Report
I'm willing to try out new things but if I don't like something I don't eat it. There are enough healthy foods around that I do like. Report
I used to do this, but I don't any more because I figured out that you can still get fat on healthy food if you eat enough of it (or, as the author noted, if you overeat at dinner after being PERFECT all day long). Report
I am lucky I guess, there are very few foods that I don't like although some of them are not favorites. I like all fruits, most veggie real eggs and i have perfect cholestrol with no meds.so I eat them a few rtimes a week.
I love beans, lentils, whole grains and pasta whole wheat is not my first choice but I alternate it with white.I don't buy any sweetened cereals, no sodas and not many cakes, cookies, ice cream. My only downfall is candy. I also read ALL labels unless I have already pretty much memorized them. I watch sodium, bad fats and high carbs that come from manmade sweeteners. There is PLENTY of good, healthy food out there but if I really dislike a food [hard to find for me] I would not feel that I have to eat it to stay healthy... Report
There is nothing I eat that I don't like. I admit though that I feel a little guilty about that. I do think sometimes that I should be eating things I don't like. I try to eat as healthy as I can. I try to prepare a variety of foods. I will even pass over favorites for more healthy options, but I refuse to make my meals be punishment. Report
I try to give things a fair shake, but if I don't like it, I don't eat it. For example, the whole internet has been talking about Kale Chips for awhile (kale baked in the oven with olive oil & salt until crispy). I made some and snacked on them one day at work -desperately hoping no one would see - until I said to myself, "Self, these things are gross." So I threw them out and promised not to do that to myself ever again. Report
OK, I may be borderline in that I do take my own light cheese, crackers or whatever to parties so that I have something I can eat. I will take a regular version for everyone else and just take my own as well. I don't eat stuff that I don't like, but am very strict (too much so) about calories, so I normally won't eat anything when I am in places that I can't take my own food. I will however have my eating days and at times will allow myself to just eat what is on the menu and not care when out celebrating. PS: I don't advocate severely restricting calories, it is something I am working on, and with Spark People, logging my food every day has shown me how many beneficial things my body has NOT been getting all of these years by being so uptight! So, I am slowly learning to let up a bit! Report
I have a friend who does this. She's miserable to go out to eat with. We once went to a food festival and she made a special trip to another restaurant to bring a broiled chicken breast and lentil salad for lunch. I got healthy grilled salmon and veggies, a great soup and a small serving of a berry dessert. She was frowning the whole time. Report
Not really, but I do make myself eat one thing regularly that I don't like and that's pears. I hate pears, but I eat them because of their fiber content. It's certainly better than eating 3 apples all in one day to help get the 25g of fiber that I need. With avocados being slow to ripen at this time of year, I need to eat a lot of fruit (2 bananas, 2 apples and 1 pear) to boost my fiber intake while they soften up. I don't live alone and my family would complain about me eating all the apples. So I have two apples and a pear for my snacks. XD I wish those avocads would hurry up, though. They're tasty and no fruit or vegetable can beat them when it comes to their fiber content! One half of an avocad contains 8.5g of fiber! AMAZING!! I'm looking forward to having one half of an avocado instead of having that pear and the extra apple! XD Report
I am not a healthy food martyr but I'm ok with anyone who is as long as they limit that behavior to themselves. I start having irritation with RIGHTEOUS dieters who proselytize their diet view and try to "SAVE" you from yourself. Report
No, there are way too many good tasting healthy foods out there to keep eating the ones I don't like. Report
I do force myself to eat foods, because I don't know I don't like them until I've tried them. I love trying new foods, so I don't mind if I taste one yucky thing because there are so many delicious things I do enjoy. I'm definitely NOT a health food martyr! I've also learned to make healthy substitutions for less healthy things, and so far, I'm satisfied with it. Report
Sometimes if you persist you'll learn to appreciate the taste of some things. Like salads - didn't use to like any kind of salad leaves . . . but I persisted and now I like some of them.

I didn't eat many vegetables as a kid but as an adult, I started to eat them more and more and eventually acquired a taste for them.

And sometimes it's good to try something that you didn't like before. Our tastes can change. I used to dislike parsnips; now I like them a lot.

I used to hate liver of any kind; now I can tolerate chicken livers.

2/3 Report
I try some foods but if I don't like them I don't eat them. Report
I love to be open and will try anything twice! I recently fell in love with spirulina in my shake - it's amazingly good for you and doesn't taste like much but many people are turned off by the intense blueish green colour. Good food can (and should) taste good!! Often as I warm up some delicious lunch at work my colleaugues (eating gross pizza, sandwiches from the store, or frozen meals) often comment on how delicious my food smells and I get to gloat a little because I know not only that it's going to be delicious...but that it's so much better for me!!

Keep eating colourful meals!! Report
No if I don't like it I will not eat it though I do make myself try new things if I like it I finish it if I don't well it goes in the trrash Report
No, I don't eat foods I don't like just because they're healthy. However, there are very few things I don't like, and I like to try new things to see if I like them. Report
Now that I'm older I like to explore new and different foods but if I don't like them I won't eat them again. I enjoy what I eat. Report
yes, I think I did that in my teens when I lost 50 pounds. wouldn't eat fruit, any grains at all. strictly meat & veggies - I was hungry ALL the time. I underate and overexercised - then got welcomed to the world of binging, lol.

yes, I think moderation is so much better in everything. Report
No way.. i can only eat food that i like. I have tried eating food i dont like which is usually the "healthy" food, but i found that i would just not eat it and then my calories were under 400 a day. Not enough to stay healthy. I like some healthy foods, i will try it, but if i dont like it i cant eat it. Report
I started eating brown rice because I knew it was healthier for me. I really like white rice better, but have come to like brown rice better than before. Report
I sometimes at particular vegetables that I don't like because I know they're good for me - but they're usually in a meal that I love! I eat the disliked foods first to get them out of the way... Report
Sometimes I do. It's how I finally learned to accept eating small amounts of raw mushrooms and black olives in salads and other foods. And not only accept the black olives, but actually add them by choice because I want the flavor. It was a process that took years. Report
LOL! You thought they tasted awful, lol.. Ahh yes. Seriously, I used to get so hungry it didnt matter what it tasted like- I would eat it and like it! lol. Well, I HAVE TO make my food taste good... Or I will just go wild thinking bad for me stuff is the only thing that tastes good. I have to challenge the old way of thinking u know. I agree that low fat dairy tastes better. And i am happy to add condiments now- I LOVE them! I dont mind 2 tbsps of this or that here and there... I just dont pour on the bbq sauce anymore. I am grateful to sparkpeople for teaching me to weigh and measure everything- it has driven others in my life crazy- but now I can enjoy almost anything without freaking out. Moderation and healthier choices are great. Report
I like healthy foods. It doesn't matter that my friends look at me strange. I never ate the fat-free food , I always read so I could make inform choices. Report
I've given up eating foods I don't like. I eat less if I eat foods I like. Because when I eat stuff only because it's healthy, I still eat until I eat something I want, or like. Easier to just eat what you like first - fills your body and your soul. Report
My son told me "Mother, you're old now and don't have TASTE BUDS, so you can eat that stuff." I had to think about it and agree that as children we have MUCH better and sensitive taste buds (they wear down as we age). I hated Sweet Potatoes, Raisins and Shredded-wheat as a child, but don't mind them now. When my children were small I never FORCED them to eat anything (one son hates tomatoes) as I realized they probably were to 'strong" for them.
I actually like "rice cakes" so I figure I'm fine. LOL Report
This sure sound like my history of eating. I have come to relize if I eat what I want (I eat less to get sastified. Report
Yes. This sounds like me. I choke down foods that I hate daily and have for a really long time just because I am so sick of all this weight. Its gotten to the point where I am starting to hate food and mealtimes. Report
only once. I will eat healthy foods, but not at the expense of liking it. Report
Nope, but I do try everything once. :) Report
While I am eating a lot more healthy foods than I did five or ten years ago, I found that if I had something on my plate that I didn't like, I wouldn't eat it and would instead double up on what I did like that was on my plate. So I focus more on eating the healthy foods and I do like, on mindful eating and appropriate portion size, all of which give me much better results.
I had no idea so many people didn't like Shirataki noodles - I actually like them! Report
Plain egg whites or egg substitute! ugh. no flavor to me no matter what I add scrambled with them. Tried to force myself to use them, but ending up back with good old regular eggs, taste so much better. Egg substitute is OK in baking.

I had to laugh at this because I ate shirataki noodles for the same reason, but they're just so gross! Gave 'em up in favor of noodles that tasted good...:) Report
I like enough healthy foods that I don't force myself to eat the stuff I don't like. I'll try new things & will even try things I didn't like before, just to see if maybe my tastes have changed (and they have in some cases). I really don't like fat-free cheese or butter substitutes--for those, I eat the real full-fat versions, but just watch my portions. Report
I will try anything once, but I don't force myself to eat things that I don't like. Report
I will try anything and if I don't like it, may address it at a later time. For example, my mom used to eat cottage cheese and yogurt and for a long time, I thought they were both sour. When I realized they were healthy items, I learned to enjoy them both so they are no longer on my "diet food" list. Some foods as a lot of things are learned. My plan is to live a long, and healthy life. thanx! Report
I never eat anything that I don't like. I'll try anything once, but if it doesn't suit me, I don't want to waste the calories on it. There are so many wonderful healthy recipes on the internet now. I even go to the library and check out the cookbooks from the luxury spas like the Golden Door and Canyon Ranch. I can duplicate their meal and it makes me feel like I'm treating myself to something special. Report
No, never. I'll try anything, but if I don't like it it's not coming back to my plate. There is no way I will ever eat celery, for example. Horrible stuff. Report
No. Never. There are enough healthy foods that I do like and I would never waste calories on food that I don't enjoy. Report
I dont eat foods I dont like. I will say though I'll try anything once no matter how gross it looks. I usually like just about anything. I dont like beets and sweet potatoes. Report
Heck no! If it doesn't take good I'm not eating it even if it is healthy for me. Report
I can't choke down foods I don't like. Although I do try and find ways to incorporate them without having to taste them. That's why I was super excited to finally try a green monster. Getting the benefits of healthy greens every day without having to taste them? Awesome =) Report
No i don't at all.
with my apex program there is healthy foods that i like
and getting to like. It even includes healthy pasta that is
not whole wheat. I am getting healthy and losing weight
on what i like, Candy and cake are out for a while
or i can have one or the other on a special occasion
but that is ok. Report
hmmm... not really. Most, if not all of the healthy foods I eat I like. There are very healthy foods that I don't eat because I just don't like the taste. Liver. I HATE liver. I know it's good for me, BUT I HATE LIVER. Lima beans and beets too.

I love beans, but I hate slimy lima beans. So, even though lima beans and beets are really good for me, I won't eat them. ick. I'll eat more of my spinach, thank you very much.

Now, I did try a low carb pasta once. I thought that eating low carb was good for me. Nope again. Gosh, it tasted dreadful. No more low carb stuff for me either.

I practice what Spark People preaches i.e. all things in moderation.

No, if I don't like it I don't eat it. I am willing to try new things, but if I don't care for them I will not eat them again Report
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