The five senses play a significant role—either consciously or subconsciously—when it comes to food choice. While taste tends to rule as the king factor, the expression “eat with your eyes” still rings true, perhaps even more so with the growing trend of food blogs and mouthwatering food photography. A dish that looks more visually appealing tends to be more appetizing and satisfying. Studies have found that just the sight of food causes physiological responses, like salivation, a desire to eat in the absence of hunger and changes in heart rate and insulin levels.
More specifically, researchers have found that the way a food is plated impacts flavor perception, consumption behavior and even subsequent food choices. Fortunately, common rules for making food look appealing in person and on camera—plating a colorful foods on round white plates—can help promote healthful eating. A variety of colorful foods tend to be more appetizing than food of one color. Think mixed red and green lettuces instead of pale iceberg lettuce or colorful fruits and vegetables on top of or next to monotone grains or proteins, such as grilled salmon topped with a colorful mango and bell pepper relish or scallop fettuccine topped with bright red tomatoes and fresh basil.