One of my challenges working with (previously) unhealthy clients is that their tastebuds are accustomed to foods high in salt, sugar, fat, and not a lot of bitter, sour, or naturally sweet tastes.
A slow and steady transition is usually best to accustom the body to completely embrace the kinds of compounds that are beneficial in the long term, like sulphurophane compounds from cruciferous veggies (cabbage, broccoli, sprouts) and bitter green compounds from, well, bitter greens.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your sweet tooth and increase your inclination to try nutrient-rich foods!
1. Slowly swap out sugar with Truvia or Stevia.
I successfully tricked my husband into using Truvia in his daily tea. What a difference in our sweet tooth this has made! Truvia is 25% sugar and 75% stevia and erythritol. Both are well-researched natural alternatives to the typical artificial sweetener, though not absolutely the best choice for diabetic diets.
2. Add black currants, raisins, fresh citrus fruits, or maple-y dressings to bitter green salads.
A touch of sweet will be a lovely accompaniment to those harsher tastes from kale, arugula, cabbage, and bitter lettuce varieties. I prefer to use fresh fruit or unsweetened dried fruit along with balsamic vinegar in my salads to give them a special depth of flavour!
3. Reach for DIY-flavoured water as your sweet beverage of choice.
Use the aforementioned Stevia to sweeten, or even better, use chopped cucumber, citrus fruits, and berries to flavour your water! My favourite recipe for infused water includes a 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice with some pulp, a dash of fresh lemon juice, and a teaspoon of orange blossom water!
4. Choose no-salt-added foods and condiments, and salt at the table instead.
Slowly taper down your salt intake (just about everyone should have a low salt diet to optimize health!). Use no-salt-added canned items, or better yet, cook from scratch! You can cook beans easily in a slow cooker or pressure cooker or Instant Pot, adding just a touch of baking soda to soften the beans while cooking. Click here for an amazing salt-free spice mix that I use on everything savoury!
5. Use bitter herbs and spices to season everything!
Fresh cinnamon, turmeric, and fresh or dried dandelion leaves could be ingredients in your next cup of tea! Don't forget about antioxidant powerhouses cilantro or dried coriander, fresh mint, and turmeric as ingredients to add to your savoury foods too!
Overall, make sure to not overdo it and turn yourself off of making healthier habits on your first go!
Best of luck my dear!