Science says that this is how you can make healthy food more appealing

Science says that this is how you can make healthy food more appealing

When it comes to meal prep, it can be easy to get stuck in the same old routine with the same old recipes. While consistency is key when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals, boredom can also lead to some unwise choices when spontaneity strikes.

Whether you are looking to shift weight, build lean muscle, or just avoid your urge to hit up the local takeaway joint, meal prepping has fast become one of the best ways to ensure you're eating healthily and saving money.

A new study has found a way to make your go-to dishes way more appealing. After conducting a series of experiments, researchers discovered that people found new enjoyment in different foods when they consumed them in unconventional ways.

Businesswoman eating a healthy salad lunch and looking at a smart phone in an open plan office Credit: Getty

In the study the first test, 68 people were tasked with slowly eating 10 kernels of popcorn, half of the group used their hands and half of the group used chopsticks. The participants then rated the experience on factors like enjoyment and flavour. Those who ate the popcorn with chopsticks reported high satisfaction across the board.

But when the experiment was repeated, the groups reported equal responses suggesting that the chopsticks boosted enjoyment initially as they provided an unusual first-time experience. Not so good with chopsticks? Practice on scrambled eggs.

Similar findings were shown in a second study of 300 people who were tasked with coming up with “fresh, new and fun” ways to drink water e.g. drinking out of a different glass, or lapping at it like a cat. They found that those who used unique methods to drink water enjoyed it more than those who drank it normally.

If you'd like something or someone to attach this type of thinking to, fitness star Kayla Itsines also believes in shaking things up when you want to prep your lunches.

The 26-year-old stresses you've got to make enough food to fuel your body and switching it up so you don't get bored, this can include eating unconventioally too. The results as you can see are quite agreeable. Ultimately the end goal, however, is to feel healthy, whatever that looks like to you. You can achieve this if you're eating right.

When it comes to meal prep, it's all well and good knowing what you've got in front of you is healthy but if it's too small or you don't feel like eating it, what good does that do anyone? Kayla suggests prepping "adequate portion sizes and see how they make you feel", slowly tailoring your food to what is the right amount for you.

One of the most common things that stops people from meal prepping is that they assume that if you eat the same thing every day, you'll get bored and stop eating it. But Kayla said you shouldn't eat the same thing too much.

"Sure, repeat the same meal a few times, but generally, the more you switch between different meals, the more enjoyable the experience," she said. She added that even if you're sticking to the same ingredients, mix and match the combinations - and change up your vegetables.

The takeaway here? No one is suggesting lapping at your sweet potato soup like a cat (power to you if you want to give it a crack), but why not take your lunch al-desko to different park nearby or hell: break out the chopsticks next time you order a salad. Variety is the spice of life, after all.