There’s no denying that when a waiter walks by with a beautifully arranged plate of food, your ordering predicament has suddenly become very easy: “I’ll take whatever that was.” However, have you ever questioned why a well-presented dish made the menu’s several other options evaporate from your mind?
Well, we’ve all heard the phrase, “we eat with our eyes” and with science-based research, it’s been confirmed that there is a neurological connection between the sight of food and our perceived hunger pangs.
Eating is an experience that engages all five of our senses. Typically, we see our food first. Then we’re hit with the smells, take notice of any sizzling sounds, perceive the textures of the food, and finally we get to taste the creation before us.
When the practice of eating is broken by each sense, it becomes a mindful experience, filled with wonder, enjoyment, and experimentation. Without realizing, our five senses can highly dictate not only what we eat, but also how much we enjoy our food.
Build A Beautiful Plate
Understanding why beautiful foods can impact our food choices and enjoyment encourages us to elevate our home dishes. At DEFINE foods we love delicious foods that look amazing and make us feel great. From fresh, seasonal crudité boards to heaping salads, one thing that will always make your meal easy on the eyes is COLOR!
Experiment with foods of the same color in differing hues, or challenge yourself to include at least three different colors with each meal. This way of eating will not only ensure that you’re getting a variety of nutrients, but the experience of creating and enjoying a beautiful meal will provide an opportunity for your eyes to feast, as well.
While you may already incorporate standard greens, carrots, or strawberries into your meals, we’ve got a couple of other suggestions on how to “eat the rainbow” and why it’s so beneficial for your health.
Benefit Breakdown by Color
Red: Like most fruits and vegetables you can expect an array of vitamins and tons of fiber in red foods. However, the most notable benefits come from lycopene. This phytonutrient is a powerful antioxidant that keeps your eyes healthy, improves heart health, and keeps your bones strong. Good sources of lycopene can be found in tomatoes, papaya, red grapefruit and, red cabbage. At DEFINE foods we are hooked on red cabbage for all of its health benefits, which is why we feature it in two of our favorite meals: Thai Chili Salad Rolls and our Raw Pad Thai. Reap the rewards red cabbage has to offer by trying our Week of Salads meal program so you’re fridge can be stocked with lycopene-filled meals.
Orange: Beta-carotene is the chemical component that gives certain foods their orange color. It’s also the powerhouse behind healthy eyesight, functioning immune systems, and glowing skin. Carrots and pumpkin are incredible sources of beta-carotene, however sweet potatoes take the award for “healthiest orange food.” Aside from the huge amounts of beta-carotene, sweet potatoes also provide a hefty dose of manganese, fiber, potassium, and iron. Not to mention, they are known to provide relief to those with stomach ulcers, help remove free radicals from the body, and can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Yellow: What is it that gives turmeric its signature yellow color? The answers lies in one of the chemical compounds that provide the medicinal properties turmeric is known for: curcumin. This active ingredient provides high anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin keeps your body clear of free radicals and helps prevent diseases associated with chronic inflammation from developing. Not only that, but it’s been associated with helping heart disease, increased brain growth, and preventing Alzheimer's disease. With so many benefits, it’s no surprise that Golden Milk is all the rage right now. So the next time you're making a superfood latte, add a pinch of turmeric for a golden, delicious, and healthy beverage.
Green: It’s pretty easy to incorporate green into meals with so many leaves and lettuce options, but, what if you tried using more fresh herbs to add that pop of green? At DEFINE foods we use a lot of fresh herbs for the unmistakable flavor they add to any dish, however, we absolutely love fresh chives. Chives are part of the onion family, yet they provide a more pleasant and subtle taste. And aside from their palatable flavor, they offer a ton of health benefits. From easing digestive discomfort to boosting immunity, this little herb can pack a punch. Our Kale Salad with Watermelon Radish pairs perfectly with our Chive Vinaigrette. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and tangy, so you’ll be pleasantly satisfied with the taste, sight, and healthy benefits.
Blue: You’ve probably been enjoying blueberries since you were a kid. Well, the deliciously deep blue color that makes blueberries so healthy (and pretty!) comes from anthocyanin. It’s a flavonoid with potent antioxidant properties, which helps keep inflammation at bay and prevents cell damage. It’s important to note that all blueberries are not alike, however. Wild blueberries have twice the amount of antioxidant power than ordinary blueberries. Next time you’re making a smoothie, or topping one of our Grain Bowls, try reaching for wild blueberries for a beautiful pop of color and a hefty dose of antioxidant power.
Purple: The vibrant purple hue found in the skin of eggplants is caused by the same antioxidant property as blueberries: anthocyanin. However, eggplant can boast for a little bit more, as well. Eggplant is a low-carb, nutrient-dense, calorie-poor food, meaning that it contains high levels of nutrients, but not a lot of calories or carbohydrates. And we’ve all heard that red wine is good for you due to it’s high resveratrol content and the same goes for eggplant. Enjoy an eggplant dip alongside a glass of red wine for a pairing full of antioxidants with anti-aging and disease-preventing properties.
With these tips and suggestions, we hope you see how easy it can be to incorporate more color to your meals. If you’re wanting beautiful dishes, but lack the time, try one of our Meal Program options so your mealtime experience can be a whole lot prettier without sacrificing your schedule.