“Did you set the table?” It’s something you probably remember your mother asking you when you were young, but it’s an important question to ask before your next souping meal. (New to souping? Click here!) The souping experience is just that — it’s an experience, and so often we don’t take time to make our meals special. Taking an extra few minutes to create a beautiful space and ritual around mealtime will help you to slow down and savor your food.
Think of any other experience you’ve ever had. No matter how big or small, the atmosphere around you likely played a role in how you felt and what you remember. Here are a few ways to set up your daily souping so that it’s most meaningful meal of the day.
Free up distraction
This is time is about you — it’s not about what’s on TV or what your email has to say. Eliminate distractions before sitting down to have your soup by turning off the TV, closing the laptop, and turning your phone face-down. It’s difficult to find time to yourself throughout the day, so make your soup meal your one moment to really unplug from the world. Not to mention, studies show that you tend to eat a lot more when you are distracted.
Set your place with a purpose
You’ll value the experience of eating if you put a little bit of effort into the environment around you. Eating should be special, so make your set up special.
Studies show that color plays an important role in the serving sizes we choose — it’s called the Delboeuf illusion. It causes us to eat less on plates that have more contrast with the food on them, and more when we pair food with plates that are similar in color.
It’s easy: pick a plate that contrasts with the food you’re eating and you’ll be more likely to serve yourself less — perfect for heavy meals and rich dessert. The best part? You can trick yourself into eating more healthy foods by choosing a plate that’s a similar color to your food. Looking to eat more green? Use a green salad plate. This simple tip helps us eat more of the food we need and less of what we don’t.
Keep extra food off the table and in the kitchen
This will allow you to have a more mindful meal. You’ll spend less time thinking about how you want another serving of potatoes in front of you and become more present with the people around you. Sure, if you want to go to the kitchen to get seconds, that’s quite alright! However, you might find that you’re much more socially engaged without those main dishes taunting you.
Creating a pleasant environment around you is just another way to connect to your meal and become more present and aware of your habits. You don’t have to go all out on a 5-star place setting every time you sit down for a meal, but these little changes can help add beauty and meaning to your meal, and (hopefully) adding a little extra joy to your day.