You might've heard about the genius theory that eating tastier food might actually help you scarf down less overall. But get this: Your food's actual taste isn't the only thing that determines how full and happy you feel after cleaning your plate.
At least, this is according to Charles Spence, an Oxford experimental psychologist and author of The Perfect Meal. He's published more than 500 studies on how everything from plating to music to cutlery can alter your perception of whatever you're chowing down on—and in turn, what separates a satisfying meal from one that might leave you rummaging through the pantry for a snack. Here's a look at some of the surprising things he's found can help you get more deliciousness out of everything you eat.
Be a centrist.
Apparently, symmetry is pretty important to your stomach. In an Appetite study of more than 160 people, diners who were served food that was arranged on the center of their plates reported being more satisfied with their meals than those whose food was arranged off-center. Take the extra 2 seconds to arrange your food in a semi-presentable way rather than slopping it on your plate (or not plating it at all).
Pick the big fork.
Eating with a smaller utensil can help you take smaller bites and eat more slowly. But eating with a bigger one will make each mouthful more delicious, according to recent findings. Apparently, heavier cutlery makes a meal feel more expensive and luxurious—which causes diners to enjoy it more. Bet you didn't think you were that shallow, huh?
Change your Pandora station.
Background tunes can set the mood for your meal in more ways than one. While loud music can make your food seem less sweet, it can actually up its umami factor. So crank up the rock while you're eating your entrée to make it even more savory. But come dessert time, maybe switch to some jazzy piano.
Use a heftier container.
It's not just weighty utensils that leave you more satisfied with your meal. Heavier containers trick you into thinking that your food is denser and more filling than light, flimsy ones. Instead of tossing plastic single-serving containers of yogurt into your bag every morning, consider buying a big tub and filling up a reusable glass container each day.
Pick a round dessert.
Objectively, you know that the weirdly shaped cookie contains the exact same delicious ingredients as the perfectly circular one. But according to one recent study, your brain associates the rounder cookie with a sweeter, all-around better flavor. The one with jagged or asymmetrical edges? Apparently, just not as enjoyable.
Source: Eat Clean
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