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Plate Your Food Like the Pros

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Food should be nourishing, delicious and beautiful! We eat with our eyes 👀 first, so give them something gorgeous to look at. Make your plating as attractive as possible and trick your palate into enjoying a tastier meal.

Pick a Plate

The appearance of a meal can determine the taste and appeal of the food even before you take your first bite. Picking the right plate is important! Color, shape and size all matter.

Colors and curves. Round, white plates heighten sweet flavors while black, angular plates enhance savory flavors. Crisp green salads will pop on yellow and desserts belong on a plate that highlights the garnish. If your low-carb ice cream is topped with a cherry, choose a red plate! Looking to watch your waistline? Feng Shui followers say plating on a square dish may help curb your appetite.

 

Bigger is not always better. Oversized plates may appear sparse, while tiny plates can make food look crowded. But, we tend to eat what’s in front of us, so diners using small plates will ultimately consume less food. Plating on a reasonably sized dish will showcase your meal while keeping portion size in check.

Find a Focus

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Make one ingredient the star of the plate. Let your main ingredient stand out by putting it center-stage or by creating contrast with size and color. For example, place a large piece of bright pink salmon on top of green veggies or a yellow sauce.

Be Odd

Ingredients displayed in even numbers can look strange on a plate. Odd numbered groupings are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and therefore, the appetite. So whether you’re plating shrimp on a salad or dollops of sauce on a place, use three or five instead of two or four.

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Embellish with Edibles

Try to use garnishes that are beautiful and functional. Ideally, they should enhance the meal’s appearance and add a new flavor. Add toasted seeds on top of puréed soup for crunch and a smokey flavor, or include bright lemon wedges that can be squeezed over fish for a citrus zing.

Set the Scene

Even the perfect plate can fall flat when eaten in the wrong environment. Choose the lighting and music carefully, and make sure you’re in a good mood!

Bright light, small appetite. Dim light causes us to relax and can enhance the taste of bold flavors. But watch out: Diners seated in a dimly-lit room will eat almost 40% more calories than those dining in well-lit room. Bright light increases alertness and supports smart decision-making. Keep the lights bright while cooking and eating to increase your likelihood of making healthy choices.

The light’s hue can affect the way your food looks, and that can actually alter the way it tastes. Green and red lighting will enhance the fruitiness of your wine and strong coffee is intensified under bright white light.

Men will eat less under blue lighting.

plating

Tasty tunes. Music can either elevate or ruin a dining experience. Diners enjoy the taste of sweet food when listening to high-frequency sounds and wind chimes. Savory foods are best eaten with low-frequency sounds and brass instruments.

People typically enjoy wine 🍷 more when listening to classical music.

Toning down the tunes may help you eat slowly and enjoy your food more. Avoid loud, fast paced songs and relax with mellow electronic music or soft jazz.

Happy eating. Emotions impact how we eat. A bad mood can prevent the taste buds from fully experiencing the ingredients. On the other hand, short-term anxiety increases cortisol, making us more sensitive to glucose and salt, and prone to overeating. Come to your meals with as little stress as possible for optimal digestion and enjoyment.

plating

Before diving into your next meal, consider your mood. Are you using food to self-soothe or distract yourself? If the answer is yes, step away from the plate. Go for a walk or call a friend.

If you’re actually hungry, unplug electronics, sit down, and eat mindfully. It takes about 20 minutes for feelings of fulness to reach the brain. Slowing down will allow you to truly enjoy the food and stop before you’re stuffed.

 

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About the Author

Andrea Lagotte
Marketing & Customer Experience Specialist at One Drop. All about positive psychology, mindfulness, diabetes management and digital health.

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