Defy Nutrition

How to Make Your Meal Look More Appetizing

I’ll never forget when my (then) 4-year-old niece said, “It’s good, nonna, but you could really improve your presentation.” I guess she had spent a little too much time with her chef dad watching cooking shows. But it was a good lesson to learn – when it doesn’t look good, we don’t want to eat it!

poached egg on greens with hash

I was recently talking to a meal plan client who was in her first few days of the plan. She hadn’t been a kitchen aficionado in quite some time, relying mostly on whatever her spouse cooked. When we were talking about how the plan was going, she laughed as she said one dish was delicious but even her husband commented that her delivery needed a bit more help. 

 

As busy women, though, we don’t always want to take the time to make things look pretty. I mean, if it tastes good, who cares? 

 

Wrong. If it tastes good but looks terrible, you aren’t going to be eating that meal for long!

 

Here are 5 tips to makeover that sad meal so you actually get excited to eat again. 

 

1. Incorporate cookie cutters

No, I don’t mean all your meals have to look the same! But incorporating shapes can be a fun way to make mealtimes more enjoyable. We usually see this for kids’ lunches but why not use them for our own?

 You don’t need to have a bunch of waste either. Let’s say you have a sandwich and you use a cookie cutter to shape it into a flower.

 Save the extra bread, let it go stale, then use a food processor to make breadcrumbs!

You can stay simple with these basic shaped cookie cutters or channel the beach vibes with these tropical cutters!

 

2. Use skewers

This is such a surprisingly simple modification! Instead of cutting whole tomatoes, why not put some grape tomatoes on a skewer? Rather than shredded cheese, why not try some fresh mozzarella balls? Even better – alternate the tomatoes and mozzarella and throw some basil on while you’re at it.
Grilled vegetable and chicken skewers with bell peppers, zucchini, onion and mushrooms on white marble background, top view. Meat and vegetables kebabs on skewers.Instead of toting along a wet bag of washed grapes, put them on a cocktail skewer! The options and combinations are endless. Some skewer combo ideas include:

    1. Grapes, cantaloupe, and strawberries
    2. Artichoke hearts, low sodium/nitrate-free sausage, and roasted red peppers
    3. Blackberries and parmesan cheese wedges 

3. Consider segmenting your meal by stripes 

acai bowl

Okay, this might sound weird but hear me out. Rather than dumping your entire lunch into one mishmashed plate, try layering the foods by stripes. This could be horizontal stripes, where you have a plate of goodies OR they could be horizontal stripes, like when you make a mason jar salad.

 

4. Buy nicer containers 

It’s amazing how once we switched to glass containers, suddenly all our tupperware didn’t go missing. I don’t know if it’s because there’s more of a monetary value to them or because the family actually cares, but nonetheless, that disappearing lid problem may soon be solved with glass containers! I’ve also found that I’m more likely to make my meal pretty on clean, white plates that I am on our (very aged) decorative border ones. It probably helps that the white plates are a bit smaller and don’t have the ridge like the decorative ones do, so I feel like I’m eating way more food. 

 

5. Get fancy with garnishes

If you have kids, this is where you can really put them to work! But even if you don’t, garnishes don’t have to be super fancy. Maybe you just tuck some chopped herbs, a lemon slice or a lime wedge in there. Do something to add some color and make you excited for this piece of art!

ripe fruits in local market

Meal prep or following a meal plan doesn’t have to be boring. I recently saw an influencer that “boring is what works” – NEGATIVE. Boring might get some results, but I guarantee boring won’t last and it will probably end up driving you and your family crazy. Try these 5 ways to spice up those boring lunches and see what a difference presentation can make! 

 

 

PS These hacks can also help increase mindful eating! Learn about our group program – Defy Food Guilt (DFG) to help you improve your relationship with food.