We’re really excited and know you must be as well! Christmas and New Year’s are just ’round the corner and you’ve probably begun playing carols and decorating your home. So we thought we’d put together some ideas on keeping a beautiful – as well as healthy – table this festive season. You’d be amazed at how table setting and plating of food affects the way we eat.
While our mantra is always ‘Eat healthy!’, we understand that there will be too many tempting festive goodies at this time for you to resist. Yet, all you need to do is plan your menu carefully and there’s no reason why you cannot really get into the spirit of the season without feeling deprived.
Did you know that white serving dishes and flatware encourage you to overeat? So choose your dishware carefully. If your aim is to eat less, choose dishes in colours that contrast well with your food. If you want to eat more greens, serve them in green bowls or plates. Go right ahead and use the bright red green and gold. Some studies have shown that white encourages mindless eating while blue discourages it. Well…
If getting colourful dishes is a problem, remember the colour of your tablecloth can compensate. Choose a table cover with a low contrast to your light coloured dinnerware – tablecloths in say, cream, beige, peach or white, will work well. These will create the illusion for smaller servings of food.
Is changing the colour of your dinnerware not possible? Don’t worry; just use smaller plates, bowls and cups. This will lead to choosing smaller servings of food and feeling full with lesser food.
Deck your table with a rainbow of food. Choose carrots, pumpkins, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and lean meat for your oranges and reds. Go green with leafy veggies, broccoli and French beans. Get your blues, purples and browns from generous helpings of plenty of berries and cocoa. Choose low-fat dairy products and fish for your whites, and eggs and oils rich in omega-3 fatty acids for your yellows.
Variety really is the spice of life.
Imagine how boring it would be if all your food were to look the same! So play with colour and texture and contrast them in the food you serve this Christmas and New Years. Green paper napkins look great with bite-sized appetisers and a creamy, low fat yoghurt dip. Carrot and radish sticks go well with smooth-textured soups. If you are serving fish or chicken, pair it with a red sauce or colourful vegetables. Likewise, a pesto dish with lots of green in it looks way yummier with sliced tomatoes or red peppers.
Haven’t you noticed that a nicely garnished dish is so much more appetising than one which is not? Just make sure that your garnish is edible and compliments the food you serve! Take a few minutes to add chopped parsley, sliced apples or berries or a little crumbled cottage or feta cheese to add flavour and style to your food.
Create the mood
Eating casually at home doesn’t require elaborate arrangements, but we do make the effort for the festive season or when we are having guests, don’t we?
Set your table with the right forks, spoons and knives. Use your good silver and glassware; bring out the embroidered napkins and lace tablecloth. Decorate your table with fresh flowers or bowls of colourful fruit. Add warmth and glow with plenty of candles and don’t hesitate to mix the votives and tapers.
- Create a lovely centrepiece for your dinner table – surround creamy white candles with sprigs of holly and a variety of painted acorns.
- Attach jingle bells to gold or silver ribbons to make napkin ties.
- Wrap each place setting with a length of wide ribbon tied with a bow and tucked with a name card for your guests.
- Experiment with colour schemes – go beyond red, gold and green. How about yellow and aqua, orange and purple, blue and white? Or various shades of the one colour?
So, these are some tips on planning your Christmas or New Year’s menu. And what’s a festive menu without a festive setting. We sure hope you’ll find these ideas make for a beautiful Christmas!