Three Ways to Get More Joy Out of Your Next Meal

 

When I became a food editor at a magazine, I started thinking about food differently. Now, when I read recipes or thought about what I wanted to cook for a weekend dinner party, I didn’t just consider how the food was going to taste, but how it was going to look. For the first time, I understood that inspire people to want to try to make the recipes we were running (which could often be complicated and include lots of different ingredients), we had to make them look delicious.

 

Working with a top-notch team of art and photo directors, I learned a few easy tricks to making food look beautiful—and I applied those tricks when creating the recipes and styling the cookbook shots alongside Michele Ervin, our talented co-artistic director, for The Model Trainer Method.

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of women, when they are cooking for themselves, don’t make much of an effort to make their food look beautiful. And when they are cooking food that’s focused more on its nutritional value (rather than taste) this can be doubly true.

 

My point of view is that you should make an even bigger effort to make the food that is good for you look and taste delicious. Why? Because you are less likely to feel deprived. And when you don’t feel deprived, that’s when eating right becomes simply how you eat, rather than a “diet” which implies, for better or worse, a temporary change in your eating habits. Temporary changes yield temporary results. Want to shift your shape for the long term and maintain that bikini-body confidence 365 days a year? It all starts with your attitude—and how you think about mealtime.

 

 

Tip One: #EattheRainbow (But not why you think)

 

The popular Instagram hashtag comes from the idea that the color of the fruit or vegetable you are eating is indicative of the vitamins and minerals it contains. For example, green plants contain Vitamin K and folic acid and orange vegetables have Vitamin A. Including a variety of colors (red tomatoes, orange carrots, purple cabbage, green leaves….and so on) on our plate is an easy and fun way to ensure that we’re getting all the health-boosting benefits of these micronutrients. But there’s another reason to think about color when building your meals: It’s visually more pleasing.

 

Tip Two: Plate your food like a chef or a food stylist.

 

Don’t just throw everything together in a bowl and dig in. Spend a few extra minutes preparing your food with love and care and arranging it in a pretty or unexpected way on your plate. The energy and intention you give to your food prep, is a little bit like the effort you put into your workout: You get out of it, what you put into it. Mindful eating doesn’t start when you sit down with a fork in hand and a plate in front of you; it starts way back in the kitchen, with the cutting board and the carrot.

 

Tip Three: Invest in tablewear that makes you happy.

 

Think of the plates and napkins you use as the clothes and accessories of your table. You know that on the days you make an extra effort to dress nicely for work or to pick your kids up from school, you have a little more spring in your step. Dressing your table well can have the same impact. Using cloth napkin and pretty plates and bowls can elevate a simple weeknight meal or your mid-day Greek Yogurt to something that feels a bit more special. The end result? You enjoy eating what is good for you more.

 

Simon Pearce Linen Crinkle Napkins
Simon Pearce Linen Crinkle Napkins

For our photo shoot, we used napkins, plates and utensils from Simon Pearce, a family-run company based in Vermont. I fell in love with the company’s heritage of craftsmanship and quality, as well as the look and feel of their Belmont bowls and Hartland Ridge plates, which are simple, elegant and modern. To complete a perfect place setting, you need a napkin as soft as it is functional—like their linen crinkle napkin—and flatware that adds a little metallic sparkle to your table (any of their sets will do).

Click here to check out their investment-worthy plates, bowls, linens and more: Simon Pearce.

Ask The Model Trainer

 

Hi Guys! After I received about a million direct messages over Instagram, we decided that it makes the most sense to have you post your questions on Facebook (www.facebook.com/toneandstyle). If you’re feeling a bit shy or your question is of a more personal nature, feel free to submit them via the contact form on the website. Just let us know you prefer to remain anonymous. Going forward, we will no longer be answering questions sent to my Instagram.

 

The Question:

 

“If I lift heavy, will I get bulky?”

 

The Answer:

 

This was by far the most popular question asked. The answer is no. If you want to change your body and proportions, you need resistance training, cardio and a proper diet. You cannot get big and bulky unless your diet supports it. It takes years of hard work and dedication to gain huge amounts of muscle. This does not happen by accident. Generally, women who complain about being too bulky have a higher body-fat percentage, not too much muscle. 

Resistance training will give you an incredibly lean, fit physique when accompanied by a proper nutrition plan and regular cardio.

 

 

The Question:

 

What are your thoughts on ‘if it fits yours macros’?

 

The Answer:

I like to think of diets as fun math puzzles. They are designed actually with numbers and then foods are plugged in at the end that fit those numbers. They can get more sophisticated as well depending who is designing them. With “if it fits your macros” the quality of the food does not matter- only the numbers matter.  So, for example, say I’m eating meal one—if my carbohydrate number is 30g it doesn’t matter if those 30g come from oats or from candy.

I personally am not a fan of “if it fits your macros” or as it is sometimes referred to as “iifym.” I think we should be treating our bodies with love and respect and fueling it with healthy, nutritious foods the majority of the time. The quality of the food you put into your body affects workout performance, recovery, energy levels, skin, hair, everything. You can’t fill your body with junk food all day, everyday, and expect it to perform well. That being said, I think that iifym has its place. For example, if someone eats healthy the majority of the time and needs a mental break from constraints of their diet, it can be a useful tool. They can use iifym to have a meal with foods they may be missing while still hitting their target macros and progressing towards goal.