When I became a food editor at a magazine, I started thinking about food differently. Now, when I read recipes or thought about what I wanted to cook for a weekend dinner party, I didn’t just consider how the food was going to taste, but how it was going to look. For the first time, I understood that inspire people to want to try to make the recipes we were running (which could often be complicated and include lots of different ingredients), we had to make them look delicious.
Working with a top-notch team of art and photo directors, I learned a few easy tricks to making food look beautiful—and I applied those tricks when creating the recipes and styling the cookbook shots.
I’ve noticed that a lot of women, when they are cooking for themselves, don’t make much of an effort to make their food look beautiful. And when they are cooking food that’s focused more on its nutritional value (rather than taste) this can be doubly true.
My point of view is that you should make an even bigger effort to make the food that is good for you look and taste delicious. Why? Because you are less likely to feel deprived. And when you don’t feel deprived, that’s when eating right becomes simply how you eat, rather than a “diet” which implies, for better or worse, a temporary change in your eating habits. Temporary changes yield temporary results. Want to shift your shape for the long term and maintain that bikini-body confidence 365 days a year? It all starts with your attitude—and how you think about mealtime.
Tip One: #EattheRainbow (But not why you think)
The popular Instagram hashtag comes from the idea that the color of the fruit or vegetable you are eating is indicative of the vitamins and minerals it contains. For example, green plants contain Vitamin K and folic acid and orange vegetables have Vitamin A. Including a variety of colors (red tomatoes, orange carrots, purple cabbage, green leaves….and so on) on our plate is an easy and fun way to ensure that we’re getting all the health-boosting benefits of these micronutrients. But there’s another reason to think about color when building your meals: It’s visually more pleasing.
Tip Two: Plate your food like a chef or a food stylist.
Don’t just throw everything together in a bowl and dig in. Spend a few extra minutes preparing your food with love and care and arranging it in a pretty or unexpected way on your plate. The energy and intention you give to your food prep, is a little bit like the effort you put into your workout: You get out of it, what you put into it. Mindful eating doesn’t start when you sit down with a fork in hand and a plate in front of you; it starts way back in the kitchen, with the cutting board and the carrot.
Tip Three: Invest in tablewear that makes you happy.
Think of the plates and napkins you use as the clothes and accessories of your table. You know that on the days you make an extra effort to dress nicely for work or to pick your kids up from school, you have a little more spring in your step. Dressing your table well can have the same impact. Using cloth napkin and pretty plates and bowls can elevate a simple weeknight meal or your mid-day Greek Yogurt to something that feels a bit more special. The end result? You enjoy eating what is good for you more.
For our photo shoot, we used napkins, plates and utensils from Simon Pearce, a family-run company based in Vermont. I fell in love with the company’s heritage of craftsmanship and quality, as well as the look and feel of their Belmont bowls and Hartland Ridge plates, which are simple, elegant and modern. To complete a perfect place setting, you need a napkin as soft as it is functional—like their linen crinkle napkin—and flatware that adds a little metallic sparkle to your table (any of their sets will do).
Click here to check out their investment-worthy plates, bowls, linens and more: Simon Pearce.