butterflyDid you know that we eat with all of our senses? That’s right! Most of us just think about the taste of food when we eat, but taste is just one of the many senses that play a role in eating. We also eat with our senses of touch and hearing or sound…whether a food is soft, hard, swishy, etc. Have you ever eaten something because you like how it ‘feels’ in your mouth? How about the crunch that a food makes? Think about this the next time you eat spaghetti or popcorn!

Do you get hungry when you walk into a bakery or pizza shop? That’s your sense of smell at work! Your sense of smell is closely related to your appetite. Some research studies suggest that citrus smells as well as several spices help to stimulate the appetite.

All great chefs know that the way a food is presented affects your appetite. Who wouldn’t want to eat the cute little butterfly shown below? What a great way to encourage children (and some adults, too) to eat more fruits and veggies! Using our sense of sight will often determine the foods we are willing to try and, unfortunately, also dictate which foods we are more likely to push away.

You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make your meals and snacks look great! Some easy and eye appealing ways to serve up your next meal include:

  • Cut foods into various shapes using cookie cutters or simple items found around the kitchen. You can cut shapes out of cheese, bread, pancakes, and other foods to make a fun and attractive snack. Even toddlers can help out and will learn their shapes while helping in the kitchen!
  • Use colorful plates and platters to serve meals and snacks. Just by changing up the dinnerware can increase your family’s acceptance of a new food. Try using some fun cups with straws, or plates with divided sections for a change the whole family will enjoy!
  • Put pancake batter or scrambled eggs into a squeeze bottle for a fun way to make breakfast. Squeeze out some of the egg or batter onto a hot griddle into the shape of a letter or number and watch your family gobble up their names! Now THAT’S what I call ‘eating your words’!