We've all struggled getting the kids to eat what's on their plate - but did you know that it has been scientifically proven that the better it looks on the plate, the better it tastes? In a study commissioned by Lidl, and headed up by Oxford University Gastrophysicist Professor Charles Spence, it was discovered that simply chopping ingredients differently could impact flavour perceptions. We asked Kevin Love, Lidl's in-house Michelin-starred chef, for his top 'plating up' tips for the kids for foods that we typically find are a challenge to get them to eat.
BROCCOLI - "Use odd numbers of broccoli as opposed to even. Odd numbers are more interesting and pleasing to the eye."
BROWN BREAD - "Cut the slices into different shapes - try slicing diagonally, or into thin strips. "
POTATO -"Add various textures to the plate - there's a reason we like mushy peas with our fish and chips or mashed potato with our sausages."
TOMATOES - "Use different colours on the plate to liven things up and make things interesting. Using varieties of tomatoes to show the beautiful array of colours available - deep red through to orange through to bright yellow - will catch the eye."
COURGETTE - "Courgette is a great one to turn into 'courgette pasta' using a spiralizer or potato peeler. Mixing it in with normal pasta will introduce little ones to a whole new way of eating this super healthy vegetable."
RED MEAT - "We tend to plonk meat on the side of the plate next to the carbs and veg. Our study showed that when the protein is placed in the centre of the plate and sliced horizontally, the visibility of the colouring inside tantalised the tastebuds much more so that when the meat is cut vertically."
SPINACH - "Try arranging the spinach in a symmetrical pattern on a homemade pizza - when serving a dish with multiple ingredients, it was found that it preferred when there is symmetry to the dish, making it appear more balanced."
CUCUMBER - "Interestingly the salad dish that performed best in our study and people were willing to pay three times more for (£3.85 compared to £1.35 for the unprepared salad) had the cucumber sliced delicately in thin strips and was then placed on top of the leaves and other ingredients."
CAULIFLOWER - "Boil the cauliflower and mash it. Try mixing it with mashed carrot to enhance the colour. What about grating the cauliflower to make cauliflower rice? The study showed that the more textures on the plate, the better."
CARROT - "Try using a potato peeler to cut the carrot into delicate ribbons. It's a quick and simple way to present this vegetable packed full of Vitamin C."
Lidl is hoping the results of this experiment encourage consumers to not only Shop a Lidl Smarter, focussing on the quality of their food, but to also consider the plating up of dishes when they get the ingredients home to maximise the dining experience. Shop a Lidl Smarter is the retailer's latest advertising campaign that sees Lidl pit its own products against named-brand rivals in a series of blind taste tests, encouraging consumers to trust in their tastebuds and not be beguiled by the big brands.
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