Slow down and treat yourself to a great plate

What’s on your plate? Is your plate a healthy plate? Just about a year ago the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) introduced MyPlate to provide Americans with a simple visual image of the types and proportions of food found on a healthy plate. If you haven’t yet checked out the website, it’s a wealth of information at your fingertips. One of the resources found there is a set of 10 tips fact sheets, including “10 tips to a great plate”.

Let’s take a closer look at Tip 2: enjoy your food, but eat less. Do you enjoy your food? Enjoying food is an important part of our day. Food is a very social thing, providing us with opportunities to gather with friends and family and create memories and traditions. Is there a particular food that always takes you back to a special occasion? If you can take a little time and slow down your eating routine, it doesn’t mean you need to spend more time preparing the food. It does mean you might appreciate the experience more, the time you can spend with family and friends and maybe create a new memorable moment.

Enjoying our food can also mean making the plate and eating environment visually pleasant and inviting. Eat at a clean, uncluttered table. Think about using a fun or pretty tablecloth, placemat or napkin. Is it possible to have relaxing music or a simple vase of flowers on occasion? On your plate, create a work of art. You eat with your eyes before your mouth. Enjoy your food from the very start. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Summer 2012 Food and Nutrition Magazine shares some tips from a food stylist for making your food look as good as it tastes.

  1. Provide contrasting shapes and sizes of food: large, small, strips, chunks, dice and slice
  2. Add a garnish: a sprinkling of color with chopped herbs, citrus zest or shredded cheese adds that little bit of bling and fancy touch to any dish
  3. Consider textures: crisp vegetables, chewy pasta, smooth sauce, crunchy nuts, flaky fish, juicy fruit
  4. Create a rainbow of colors: who wants to eat a plate full of brown and beige food?
  5. Build your plate: layer or stack some of your foods rather than spreading them out on the plate. Overlap a piece of meat on vegetables or rice and sprinkle the garnish over the top

Check back soon for more about the “eat less” part of this tip. In the meantime, feel free to check out the fact sheet specifically about enjoying your food, but eating less

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