Proper nutrition: where to start, how to fall in love with healthy foods

For many, healthy and tasty are far from the same thing. What to do? To fall in love once and for all with a healthy diet? This task can hardly be called easy. Learn how to do this from a psychologist and nutritionist.

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The field of nutrition is not as simple as it seems at first glance and goes far beyond food.

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There are many products and you can find your favorites, learn how to cook and combine them in different ways.

How and when are the taste preferences formed?

Psychologist Elizaveta Dulkina says that the love of food is actually a matter of taste in the literal and figurative sense of the word. So if one of her clients came up with such a problem, she would certainly ask clarifying questions: “What do you mean by ‘love products’, ‘How do you usually decide what is good for you and what is not’?”

Elizabeth Dulkina

Elizabeth Dulkina


Working with eating disorders, I constantly come across different stereotypes and contradictions about “good and bad”. But the field of nutrition is not as simple as it seems at first glance and goes far beyond food. And for that.

When the child is in the mother’s stomach, it receives from it all the substances useful for growth and development. But after birth, he has to get food, making some effort. He must first discover that he is hungry. Then give a sign – usually the children scream, after which they receive breast milk. During this period, an important moment is determined in the baby: after something “bad” (stomach upset like hunger), it becomes “good” (satiety comes).

Food is the first metaphor of love that a newborn learns. For up to three months he does not separate his mother and himself from the world – he has it all. Therefore, food satisfaction is part of the harmony of his life.

Where does the habit of eating junk food cause stress?

According to the psychologist, if the mother suddenly did not have time to feed the child on time, she has a negative experience – people are not always easy and just meet their needs. So for the first time he gets acquainted with the feeling of dissatisfaction, frustration, anger, sadness, indignation. But back to adults – to a specific person who wants to lead a healthy lifestyle. On a conscious level, he understands the pros and cons of proper nutrition. Meanwhile, in the unconscious, he has long established a habit – to seize stress with food. And sometimes you punish yourself that way.


In this case, falling in love with healthy products will not be so easy. In the first few days, a person will probably be able to control their diet. But after a while, irritability will begin to accumulate, which will be an indicator that food in his life is not just a source of energy, but an important detail in the perception of problems or joys. The so-called “will power” will not be enough. In addition, this will go to the side and cause an eating disorder.

Why not force yourself to eat “healthy” foods?

Elizabeth Dulkina

Elizabeth Dulkina


There is such a wonderful expression: if you allow yourself something, you can deny it, if you do not allow yourself, it becomes impossible to deny. Simply put, any ban causes perversion.

Healthy eating behavior should focus on monitoring emotions and hunger signals in the body. It is important to be able to choose food according to your internal needs, and not based on “correctness”, calorie content and KBJU.

The psychologist says that this can be explained through the theory of transactional analysis – the founder of Eric Berne, author of the book “Games People Play”. The theory examines the responses to human behavior through three states: parent, adult, and child.

Parent company. Can control and care. This situation is an accumulated and mentally imprinted scenario of how our older relatives, authoritative adults, treated us: some reprimanded, shamed, accused, manipulated, blackmailed and threatened, while others praised, cared for and encouraged. This parent is usually the inner voice that tells us to “do the right thing.”

Child. This is our state, responsible for needs, desires, creativity and all kinds of “I want”, where there is no control. A constant flow of energy and emotions.


Adult. This is what is known as common sense. An adult seeks a balance between the “needs” of the parents and the “wants” of the children. He is the one who determines within us the principles by which we make choices: what to do and what not to do. This also applies to nutrition.

Why do we not like healthy foods and why is it important to learn to listen to ourselves?

According to the psychologist, the degree of our adult approach to food is proportional to how mature we are in general in our choices and decisions in life. Therefore, in order to fall in love with healthy products, you must first:

  • become an adult and break free from the beliefs that are imposed on you.
  • Empirically check (listening to body signals after different meals) what is really useful for you and gives you energy, strength and vigor and what makes you want to sleep and lie down.
  • choose food not “for company”, but because you want something specific right now – sometimes the body gives very unexpected signals.

How to recognize your nutritional needs?

When it comes to nutrition, it’s important to learn to listen to your body. Because in addition to normal hunger, there is also emotional hunger. It is with him that psychologists usually work: they help the client to distinguish the need for food from the need for love, recognition, strength and affirmation.

If we are talking about specific methods, the psychologist recommends to start with simple self-observation and questions to yourself: why I eat this, I can eat it without phone, computer, chat, how I feel after eating.


Adapting the diet through contact with the body is much wiser than instilling habits through the will, says the psychologist. After all, when the body detects harm or benefit to itself from a particular food, the food becomes natural and non-violent.

How to love healthy foods

Set a goal for yourself
According to nutritionist Alena Stepanova, food is like fuel for a car. It is important to understand why you need to eat right. When the goal is clear, the tools will be there. But for food, rewarding yourself with food is not the goal. There are other joys in life.

Gradually replace unhealthy foods with healthy ones

Alena Stepanova

Alena Stepanova


There are many products and you can find your favorites, learn how to cook and combine them in different ways. In general, the taste of the products is given by sauces with which you can eat even an old shoe. An unhealthy burger, for example, can become healthier if yeast buns are replaced with royal mushrooms or iceberg lettuce leaves. Olivier is not made with sausage, but with meat and homemade mayonnaise. And drink tea or coffee without milk, sugar and sweets.

Start small
It takes an average of 21 days to form a habit, but there are nuances here. Everyone has a different psyche and motivation, and even a week is enough for someone. In any case, it is better to start with a habit. For example, start the morning with a glass of warm water or finish dinner 3-4 hours before bedtime. Once you understand that the habit is established, move on to the next one, says the nutritionist.

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