Something many people have known for a long time, is that we eat with more than just our mouths. Think about how your eating experience is changed when you can’t smell food during a cold; conversely, how wonderful it is to enter the house on Thanksgiving and smell all of the wonderful aromas.
A recent study in the journal Flavour, showed that people thought yogurt tasted different with different spoons. Since we really use all of our senses when we eat, how we plate and package our food has an impact on how it tastes. Have you ever noticed that takeout from your favorite restaurant in a plastic carton just isn’t the same as when you sit at a table and are served on real plates? When we see a beautiful presentation, hear the crunch of a ripe apple or the delicate chime of a crystal glass, feel the weight of a fine knife in our hand or the warmth coming from a steaming mug of soup, smell wonderful aromas wafting up at us from a full plate, our sense of taste is heightened and the experience becomes even better.
I have spoken of mindful eating before, and this is one way to utilize that principle to your benefit. An exercise I have done in the past with groups is to compare how appetizing the same snack or meal appears in different presentations. Which bowl of oatmeal is more enticing to you?
Does the second one look better to you? It looks better to me too! One way that we can make sure to stick with (and enjoy!) a healthy diet more, is to take the extra two minutes to present the foods we eat in a more appealing way. This includes sitting at the table and not hovering over the sink (I too am guilty of this on occasion), and eating on a nice plate with flatware and a cloth napkin. Every meal and snack is an opportunity to enjoy feeding and caring for ourselves. Bon Appétit!