Style & ShowbizHealth

Make the most of your meals

HealthBy Sunday World
Make the most of your meals

When you go out for a nice meal the moment stays with you, especially if the food is exceptionally delicious. But did you know there are ways to improve your experiences when dining out?

Dr Charles Spence, an Oxford University professor, is supporting a new kind of science known as gastrophysics, which explores the multi-sensory influences which are present when we eat. He's shared some tips and advice with Mail Online on how you can enhance your food.

He believes that chefs should be catering to customer's minds just as much as their palates with their edible creations. In Dr Spence's book, The Perfect Meal, he explains that over half of the pleasure people feel when eating comes from the element of surprise and the atmosphere.

To back this theory up, he includes a study involving 3,000 people and wine tasting in his book. During this experiment, participants were given a glass of white wine and asked for feedback. When the lighting and music surrounding them altered while being served the same wine again, their responses changed positively by 20 per cent.

"The same food and drink in different circumstances tastes completely different," Dr Spence explained. "Sometimes, things we are not conscious of have more impact than the things we are conscious of."

He also noted that bigger menus with more choice are beneficial, as customers are able to choose their ideal meal. So next time you and friends head out, go for a place with plenty of options! Dr Spence believes fewer meals on offer leave people feeling short-changed and unmotivated, and that's no way to begin your dining experience.

Another aspect comes into play when you order - he notes that by getting your request in first, you are bound to feel more satisfied.

"You are ordering what you really want instinctively, which means you will enjoy it more," he adds.

His theory of 'sonic seasoning' is something else you can incorporate, which involves matching your food and drink to your music. For example, high-pitched tunes can add extra sweetness to your dessert, while lower-pitched pieces and brassy tracks can enhance bitterness.

On top of how to enjoy food more, Dr Spence shared that by eating from a red plate you're more likely to lose weight. He also urges people on a diet not to tune into the small screen while dining at home.

"Red is a primitive danger signal, but it also gives the food less contrast, which makes it less desirable, so you will eat less of it," he explained.

"Your brain will be so involved with the TV that it will miss the cues reminding you that you’ve had enough."

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