The importance of eating foods that taste good

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, BestHealthMag.ca and the National Post.

Healthy comfort foods

Trying to pack all the food groups into your diet seems like a struggle. Often, bran cereal, fruit slices, raw vegetable sticks, or a chicken breast broiled without its crunchy, delicious skin doesn’t sound very appetizing. Here’s how you can bring joy to your diet and still keep it healthy.

Woman eating salad

Comfort eating is all too common: When you're sad or angry, you might go for chocolate or ice cream, or you might celebrate a milestone with a decadent meal and dessert. But a healthy daily diet can be fulfilling as well as keep you trim.

1Eat foods that satisfy your mind and body

You don't want to eat lettuce leaves and an apple for lunch and then devour a bag of corn chips an hour later. You need to have nutritious food containing fat, protein, and carbohydrates to fill you up with flavors to suit your taste, otherwise, you'll be on an endless cycle of supplementing your "healthy" diet with high fat, high sugar, processed items that give you an immediate high, followed by an energy crash.

2Fat is not the enemy

The low fat diet craze has spawned a market for processed foods that are low in calories, but also low in nutrients. Fat, like the good fat from avocados, olive oil, and nuts, is good for you; fat adds flavor and fills you up. When you steam fresh vegetables, finish them with olive oil or a dab of butter and a dash of salt. These techniques bring out the flavor of your food and makes eating them more enjoyable.

3Leafy dark greens and seeds punch up your salad

You're not a rabbit so crunching on greens probably won't be fulfilling. However, digging into a salad can be a nutritious—and tasty—powerhouse. Mix lettuce with baby spinach and endive and add some lightly toasted sesame or pumpkin seeds; then add some shredded raw vegetables such as red cabbage and carrots, or sliced sweet onion. To increase the protein in the salad, add some sliced steak or chicken and top it off with olive oil or a yogurt-based dressing with fresh herbs to kick up the flavor even more; now that's a meal!

4Vitamin C for energy

Oranges, kiwis, bell peppers, and broccoli are all excellent sources of energizing Vitamin C. Oranges also contain inositol, which helps maintain normal neurotransmitter levels, and keeps you levelheaded and smiling. Slice a kiwi in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon—much more delicious than a pudding cup. When your taste buds adjust to fresh foods rather than processed frozen dinners, for example, you'll find fresh foods much tastier and more satisfying.

5Fatty fish boosts your mood

Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, help lift your mood. They also contain Vitamin D, the happy vitamin, which your body also absorbs through sunlight. With the shorter days of winter, eat fatty fish twice a week to beat the winter blues. Not so keen on fish? Try canned salmon with yogurt for a salmon salad sandwich and spice it up with sliced green olives and a dash of cayenne pepper.

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Joining Shay Pausa is Celebrity Chef Gale Gand and Dr. Jennifer Mieres. They discuss how what we eat effects our heart.

Healthy comfort foods

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