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Feature Articles: Body Image


Embrace the Pleasure Principal in Food

Linda Rellergert, Nutrition Specialist in St. Charles County
University of Missouri Extension


The movie “Chocolat” reminds us that eating can and should be one of life’s pleasures — that life is better when we embrace the pleasure principal in food. Many people in our country though seem to believe that pleasure has no place in good nutrition and good health.


However, this idea is contrary to nature and may actually result in overeating because meals are not satisfying. In the end, nutrition and health both suffer. Consider these pleasures found in food and eating.


Growing or producing food.

While flowers and shrubs provide a visual feast, growing fruits and vegetables can also be very satisfying. Making a meal with foods you’ve grown adds greatly to its enjoyment.


Spring mushroom and wild greens gathering are old-time food ways that many people still enjoy and are a great way to be active outdoors.

Buying food.

Families with young children enjoy outings to an orchard or a pumpkin patch as a way to spend quality time together.


A weekend drive to the country can include stops at roadside stands for just-picked produce and a chance to meet the people who grew it.


Most children like watching doughnuts being made or bread and rolls being shaped at a bakery.


Even the grocery store has beauty to be enjoyed in the fresh produce colors and wonderful aromas of baking bread.

Preparing food.

Taking time to make a romantic candlelight dinner, a pot of soup when someone is ill or sending a package of homemade cookies are all ways to say “I care.”

Family celebrations often involve special food or food traditions. Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without Mom’s special stuffing!

Entertaining often revolves around food — barbeques, dinner parties, receptions, Super Bowl parties. Planning what to serve is part of the fun!

Cooking together is a natural way to fit in quality time with loved ones. Young children love to help Mom and Dad in the kitchen. As children develop skills, they truly can be very helpful with both preparing meals and cleaning up afterward. Some of the best rewards are the spontaneous conversations that occur while working side by side.


When we eat with full awareness, all our senses are involved. We are more likely to tune into our hungers and satisfy them appropriately.


Foods are sweet, sour, spicy, salty, bitter or some combination of these tastes. The tastes you enjoy will vary from day to day or month to month, depending on variables such as mood, physical health, age, sense of adventure, exposure and expanding palette among others.

The smell of food can start the saliva flowing and get the digestive juices moving in anticipation of what is to come. Or, it can turn you away with a grimace. Food aroma greatly affects the way food tastes to us.

How food feels in your mouth affects your enjoyment of it and your satisfaction after eating it. If you yearn for something chewy, pudding or broth just won’t do. If you want something crunchy and eat yogurt, you’ll be looking for more food after your meal is over, even if you’re physically full.

Some foods are noisy, like chips and raw carrots. Remember the popularity of Rice Krispies with its Snap, Crackle, and Pop characters? It can be very satisfying to make a lot of noise when eating and to hear yourself munching away.

As with smell, the sight of food can trigger hunger responses, especially for people who are extra sensitive to visual food cues. Most people enjoy eating food that is attractively prepared and presented in an appealing manner.



Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009








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