“What sounds good?” is a question we often ask out loud when determining what to have for a meal or snack. It's a funny question if you think about it because it's really taste we are talking about.
However, the words we use to describe food can make it appealing or unappealing. This applies to restaurant menus, meals made at home and in the words we use to describe meals to our families, guests and children.
Jill Koegel is a registered dietitian and certified personal trainer based in Omaha. She blogs every Wednesday. Read more from Jill.
My kids like “pink noodles,” while the actual recipe name “Drunken Tuscan Pasta” is more appealing to my husband. So, for now, we say “pink noodles,” so we don't have to explain that wine is part of the recipe.
Why do the words we select make a difference? It may be because there are so many senses involved in the eating experience. Whether or not you are conscious of it, these senses are always there, making an impact on your choices and your enjoyment.
How can we make eating healthy “sound” good? The words we choose might first have to describe something we have experienced before in a positive way.
For instance, if something contains tomatoes and your son, like mine, doesn't like tomatoes, we might choose to leave that word out. Calling it “Italian” might be a better choice of words. This way, the initial response isn't “yuck.”
Using simple words that are appealing to your guests is another strategy. Descriptive words like “fresh,” “hearty,” and “light” are attractive to some people, while others might like “crisp,” “crunchy,” and “zesty.” Restaurants use these descriptors to appeal to the masses, and you can do the same thing!
Pay attention to why you choose certain things on a menu at a restaurant, and make sure that what “sounds” good is also what will “feel” good later. Remember that your senses and previous experiences are powerful factors in what you are going to decide to eat. Make your choice a conscious decision, and each time you make a healthy choice that is delicious, it will become easier.
Examples of Words to Use to Make Healthy Foods Appealing:
Crisp (not as in fried!)
Cheesy (use low fat cheese!)