Designing an appealing meal

Create appealing meals by thinking about the design of your food.

Have you ever tasted food that was so delicious you could not stop eating it? The flavor and appearance of food often determine if we are going to ever eat that food again. Flavors and aroma of food can create food memories such as baking bread with your grandmother. We all have our favorite memories that include foods. The more senses involved in a food, the stronger the memory we will have about the food. All your senses can have an effect on how you perceive a certain food. Michigan State University Extension says that the average adult has over ten thousand taste buds which respond differently to certain tastes. Smell and sight are also important players in our preference for food. Various factors can affect our desire for foods and the way they taste to us. As we get older our senses may diminish leaving us less interested in food. Medications we take, illnesses and smoking can also interfere in our desire for food.

Flavor and food go together as we choose what we are going to eat. We should also think about the nutrients foods bring to our bodies as we choose our food. That is why it is important to try to make flavorful foods that are nutritious at the same time. Thinking about the design of our meal can go a long way in creating a nutritious and appealing dinner. To begin designing an appealing meal think about the colors of food that are involved in the meal. Make visual contrasts that are interesting to the eye. Often phytonutrients are found in very colorful fruits and vegetables. They bring many health benefits and are very appealing to the eye as we eat our food.

Consider varying your flavors. Add different ingredients and seasonings to a dish to add flavor. Instead of having mashed potatoes, meat loaf and a lettuce salad, try making a meat loaf with baked sweet potato topped with chopped chives, asparagus and a spinach salad with orange slices. Vary your food textures to add interest. Add crunchy foods to foods that are soft. Add chopped apples to a stuffing mixture. Vary the shapes of your food. The same shape can look boring sitting on a plate. Add a star fruit to a plate instead of grapes. Vary the temperature of the foods you are serving. Some food should be served hot and some food should be served cold. Keep your hot foods hot and your cold foods cold until they are ready to serve. This also assures the proper flavor of food.

Anyone can begin to design a more pleasing and nutritious meal by following these simple steps. More recipes can be found at the USDA Snap-Ed Connection Recipe Finder website.

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