At a few points in my life, eating was a chore to be completed rather than a pleasure to look forward to. Stress, grief and other negative emotions can do that. One thing that has helped get through these periods…and when I’m in a better mood…is changing how I look at the plates and foods presented.
Plate Collection: If you want to see eyes roll, just let me find an unusual plate, bowl or other serving item. Like an artist choosing a format for creation I like to have new and/or unusual items to serve food on or with. Colors are chosen so that I can put together meals (the paint) that are pretty, beautiful and/or otherwise appealing.
Color My Plate: Over the last decade we’ve had a lot of different tools to help us get appropriate nutrition without consuming too much sodium, fats or sugar. “Color my Plate” appeals to me because it goes along with how I like to prepare food. Having many different colors usually means a wider variety of foods.
Here are some examples. I have some navy blue plates. The red of tomatoes, either raw or in sauce goes nicely. Add some whole grain pasta, whole kernel corn and a salad. If you look at the plate, two vegetables and two grains (corn is an either/or to most people). A garnish of sliced fresh oranges can add even more color and a bit more fruit. Serve some berries for dessert and you have a healthy meal…and it’s pretty.
Benefits of Presentation: When someone is ill, grieving or otherwise down, how you set up the plate makes a difference. It’s important to tempt the person to eat rather than push the food around on the plate. You don’t have to serve large amounts…here is where smaller plates come in very handy.
The same goes for everyone. A “blah” plate of chicken breast, canned peas and iceberg lettuce makes the meal back to the “chore” category. Grilling the chicken, making sure that the grill marks are nicely done makes it more appetizing. How it’s seasoned or sauced can also add to the presentation value. Then, kick those peas up a notch. Add some low fat cheese and let it melt. Choose a darker (and more nutritious) lettuce such as romaine and the meal looks good.
If you were to ask me how many plates I have, I wouldn’t be able to answer. I rotate them so I don’t get bored. If you want to know colors, that’s easier. Black, white, green, blue, orange, red and then several sets with designs. They come in different shapes. There are two sizes of round, two sets of rectangle and a set that’s square. It makes designing dinner more fun and eating it is no longer work.