By Dr. Mercola
If you want to make your food taste better, and more thoroughly enjoy the experience of a meal, it may be as simple as performing a ritual first, according to new research from the University of Minnesota.
Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ before eating birthday cake is one example, but the beauty of this finding is that it works for healthy food too, giving simple strategies you can implement today to get more enjoyment out of your food.
Ritualistic Behavior Enhances the Enjoyment of Eating, Improves Flavors of Food
If you’ve ever wolfed down a meal while working, driving or engaging in another task, you probably didn’t feel too satisfied afterward, and this is partly because you didn’t take the time to sit and savor your food.
Along these lines, researchers conducted a series of experiments to test whether performing a simple ritual before eating makes the food more enjoyable, and in each case, the answer was ‘yes.’
Participants who broke an unwrapped piece of chocolate in half and ate one half before unwrapping and eating the other half rated the chocolate more highly, savored it more, and were willing to pay more for it than those who ate it however they wanted
Those who waited to eat carrots after performing a small ritual enjoyed them more than those who had no delay
Simply watching someone perform a ritual, such as making lemonade, was not effective at improving its taste, which suggests personal involvement in the ritual process is key
How You Can Harness the Power of Rituals
The researchers concluded that rituals may have such an impact because they force you to become more involved in the experience at hand:
“Rituals enhance the enjoyment of consumption because of the greater involvement in the experience that they prompt.”
Rather than simply eating a bar of chocolate, for instance, stopping to feel the texture in your hands, breaking it