Ever notice how pretty the food on your plate looks when you eat out at a higher-end restaurant? Turns out, the artistic arrangement doesn't just make your meal more attractive. Decorative flourishes, like sauce drizzled in circles and foods presented in a pattern, can actually trick you into thinking your food tastes better, according to a new study published in the journal Appetite.
For the study, researchers recruited 91 subjects and had them eat dinner at the same upscale restaurant two nights in a row. Both nights, the diners consumed a meal containing sautéed chicken breast, brown rice, and string beans with almonds. On the first night, the meal was plated in a traditional way—with each food taking up a neatly arranged portion of the plate. Then, on the second night, the same three dishes were served more artistically, with sauce drizzled around the perimeter of the plate and the three foods arranged in a spiral pattern. Though both arrangements scored points for neatness and balance, the study subjects found the chicken—and especially the rice—on the second night to be significantly more flavorful.
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Study authors believe these findings suggest that serving up food in a more attractive way might boost how much we enjoy healthy ingredients. Though the study was done at a fancy restaurant, there's no reason you can't try prettying up your dishes at home; you may find it makes you crave good-for-you foods you're usually meh on. These tips on how to make veggie dishes look food porn-worthy should help.
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