[This piece was written by Alexandra Cervini, MS, RD, CDN, Lead Dietitian for Samaritan Hospital, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]
Nothing is better than a meal that tastes as good as it looks. The fantastic aroma of foods intrigue you, but it’s the sight that keeps you interested.
So what makes a dish have that eye-catching excitement we crave? There are many elements that add to meals to truly make them visually appealing, and you don’t have to be a Pinterest guru or top chef in order to create a truly pretty plate.
A pop of color adds natural beauty to a plate. Fruits and vegetables are not only an easy way to incorporate color, but also provide a wide variety of vital nutrients we need in our diet. In fact, the different colors you see amongst the fruit and vegetable categories represent the different nutrient categories.
Red and orange fruits and vegetables provide a great source of vitamin A, and carotenoids, which are important for immune function and growth. Blue and purple foods such as berries provide a good source of anthocyanins and potassium which is an essential electrolyte in our bodies’ processes. Green vegetables including spinach and broccoli provide a great source of vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting along with other functions.
ADD SOME CRUNCH
A fantastic addition of texture to a dish can come from raw fruits and vegetables. The fiber and water content of different fruits and vegetables provide a nice bite and appealing look to salads and wraps, while leaving us full and satisfied.
Another addition of crunch can be provided by a sprinkling of nuts or seeds, which are a fantastic source of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Adding something different such as pumpkin seeds or chia seeds to one of your favorite dishes can add a nice spin on an old favorite.
SPICE IT UP
Spices and garnishes add an additional layer to dishes. They add flavor and aroma, but also extra color.
For example, an excellent and beautiful spice is basil. Basil is a sweet edition to sauces and dressings, or a great topper for the perfect dish. Ginger, on the other hand, is an excellent addition to different meats including chicken, beef and seafood, whether in stir fries or curries. These are just a couple spices, but there are countless others to try; exploring the world of spices and garnishes can heighten your dishes to an entirely different level.