How To Make The Most Satisfying Meal.
Published on July 23, 2021
The five main senses of the body are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. A meal that will be the most satisfying will appeal to all these senses, it will look, sound, smell, taste and feel good. In addition, a satisfying meal will make your body feel good and keep you full. A few of these aspects may sound strange now but will actually make a lot of sense.
As humans we are attracted to colourful things and our food is no different, this is why sweets are often extremely bright and a mix of colours in order to attract consumers. John Hutchings writes that the total perception of a food is built up from all the visual sensations experienced. A meal will be a lot more attractive to you and due to the variety of colours make it seem like you are eating more if you use combination of colours. E.g., a salad with yellow pasta, orange carrot, pink salmon and green leaves will be a lot more enticing and satisfying to eat than a salad of just green leaves and veg with a bland coloured meat.
The sound of your food can be very important. The clear, crisp crunch when biting into an apple or the snap of chocolate bar is music to the ears and very satisfying to hear. This idea is supported by research done by Charles Spence. He found that “sound plays a crucial role in determining how much we like the experience” of eating. In particular it gives an indication of the texture of the food and when they match makes the experience very satisfying. In the past the sound of food could indicate how safe the food is e.g. carbonation in fruit indicates it has gone off. As we have evolved and this function is no longer as important and sound plays other roles more associated with enjoyment. For example children love pop rocks as they make a loud crackling noise while eaten.
It’s a well-known fact that smell makes up a big part of taste. The smell of the meal contributes to the satisfaction gained from the meal in multiple ways. Firstly, the better a meal smells the better it tastes as it makes up part of the taste and influences how the body perceives the taste. The general consensus obtained from multiple studies and supported by Charles Spence is that smell makes up anywhere from 75-80% of taste. Secondly, it is a wonderful feeling to crave something and then end up getting it. In other words, smelling a food often makes you crave it and when you actually get to eat that food you are immensely satisfied so the better your foods aroma, the happier you will be. For example, a fresh salad looks great but even just adding a splash of lemon juice or a drizzle of sauce over can make it even more enticing.
Taste is of course a huge factor in making a dish satisfying. Prior to a meal we often picture the food we want to eat and what we want to taste. The five main tastes are sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami. (Breslin 2013) In order to make a meal that satisfies you all you have to do, in regard to taste, is identify which ones you crave and add ingredients that have those tastes. For example, if you crave sweet, sour and salty a salad containing sweet apple pieces, sour lemon dressing and a salted salmon will satisfy all your needs.
Just as discussed in the section on smell, the expectations for a food and the reality plays a huge part in how satisfying the meal is. As Chen and Rosenthal write a foods texture plays a crucial role in how much a consumer likes a food. If an apple looks crisp and crunchy but is soft and soggy instead the consumer will be extremely disappointed, however if the expected crunch occurs it is much more satisfying. In order to make your meal as satisfying as possible ensure you use clean, fresh ingredients and taste what you are using before adding it to the dish.
All these sensations work together to provide the overall experience of the dish. In order to make a satisfying dish it must meet the desired standards of each aspect.
However, eating the meal is not where the experience ends. We eat to fuel our bodies and so the meal must be able to satiate us and make us feel good in order to completely satisfy us. According to Koliaki, et al. protein is the most satiating macronutrient. While carbohydrates are an excellent source of energy, in order to feel fuller for longer you should be consuming complex carbohydrates; whole grains, vegetables that include fibre as they break down more slowly in the body. Fat contains the most calories per gram at 9 kcals per gram as opposed to carbohydrates and protein at 4 kcals per gram each. They also regulate appetite due to their ability to produce certain hormones in the body. (Samra 2010). Therefore, the most satisfying and filling meal would be a combination of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.
Recipe- salad guide examples
|Red- chilli vinaigrette
|Sound||Silent- chicken, tofu
Spicy- protein in spiced marinade
|Spicy- spiced dressing
Pungent- creamy dressing
Aromatic- herb dressing
|Fresh- mixed leaves
Umami- soy beans
|Sweet- fruit vinaigrette
Salty- salted nuts
Sour- yoghurt dressing
|Sweet- orange, carrot
Silky- creamy dressing
Gritty- herb dressing
Soft- cooked squash