Health with Intention: Foods You’re Just Not That Into [Exercise]
You know how sometimes you “forget” that you don’t really like a food when you’re hungry? Or when that food is right in front of you? I’ve found that a lot of people (myself included) don’t really know which foods they’re just not that into. I’m going to tell you about an exercise that will help you figure out which foods you don’t really enjoy.
First, start by making a list of foods you HATE. You know the ones I mean — foods you wouldn’t eat even if someone paid you. Those are the easy ones because you’ve probably disliked them all your life. There are only a few foods like that on my list (Brussels sprouts is the main one).
Then, move on to foods you just don’t really enjoy. You can tolerate them, but after you eat them, you don’t think, “Wow, I’m SO glad I ate that.” It’s more like, “Meh, that was just okay.” Often, those foods aren’t really worth eating! This is the difficult part of the exercise, but if you’re like me, you’ll find that once you get going, it becomes easy. Just think of any food you’ve eaten in the past week that wasn’t very satisfying and didn’t give you much pleasure. It’s okay if you can’t think of many, but make it a point to pay attention in the future. While you’re eating a food you know you don’t absolutely adore, ask yourself if this food falls into the “SO Glad I Ate That” category or the “Disappointing” category.
To inspire you, I’m going to share a portion of my “foods I’m just not that into” list with you.
- Â Â Â pretty much all candy except Almond Joy
- Â Â Â bottled juice
- Â Â Â Brussels sprouts
- Â Â Â doughnuts (except fresh ones from a cider mill)
- Â Â Â chicken wings
- Â Â Â grilled chicken breast (with rare exceptions)
- Â Â Â popcorn
- Â Â Â anything with lavender
- Â Â Â most things with heavy rosemary flavor
- Â Â Â hot dogs
- Â Â Â sourdough bread
- Â Â Â crusty bread
- Â Â Â pasta not made fresh
- Â Â Â store-bought cookies and cake
- Â Â Â plain ice cream (no chunks of stuff in it)
- Â Â Â canned soup
- Â Â Â pita bread (unless baked fresh at a Middle Eastern place)
- Â Â Â dried figs
- Â Â Â flour tortillas
- Â Â Â dried fruit, for the most part
- Â Â Â protein bars
You get the idea. It’s okay to make exceptions on your list, too. Like with pita bread, I don’t like the packaged stuff, but fresh bread from a Middle Eastern restaurant is delicious. Notice there aren’t many veggies or fruits on this list. I’m guessing that’s because I can always think of a preparation where I genuinely love any given veggie or fruit. For example, I don’t love asparagus, but roasted asparagus with olive oil and balsamic vinegar is amazing. There’s a lot of processed food on my list because I often have to remind myself that it doesn’t taste as good as I think it does.
And this isn’t to say I don’t enjoy these foods ever, it’s just that I don’t enjoy them enough to justify eating them, and don’t need to eat them except under extenuating circumstances (like if there aren’t any other options in the moment or in the foreseeable future) or really unique preparations (Brussels sprouts in an amazing casserole of other things I like, for example).
Your list shouldn’t make you feel restricted or limited, either. You can always change your mind. The point of the list is to act as a reminder to you that you can and should enjoy what you eat most of the time. It should remind you to pursue foods you TRULY love and skip the ones you’re just “meh” about. Most of us are blessed with a plethora of food options every day, so let’s take advantage of that. Even if I’m super hungry, I try not to eat foods I just don’t like that much. Let me tell you right now: it’s okay to be hungry for an hour or two! In this country, hunger is rarely an emergency. So if you’re faced with a choice between eating something you’re just not that into or waiting an hour or two until you have access to different food, try waiting next time.
After you master the “foods you’re just not that into” list, make another list of foods you absolutely adore and are always happy you ate afterward. It’s important to know which foods you’re passionate about to remind yourself that it’s totally worth it to indulge in those foods when you get the opportunity! Be selective and specific with this list. Rather than just writing “cookies,” write something like, “my grandma’s homemade chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.”
Once you do the exercises, report back! Were your lists surprising in any way? I know mine was. I had no idea I didn’t really like plain ice cream or crusty bread. Did the lists change your eating at all? Since making my “meh” foods list a couple weeks ago, I definitely pay more attention when I come across foods on the list… and I’m much more hesitant to eat them without thinking about it.