This post is sponsored by MorningStar Farms.
If you’ve been reading my blog even a little bit, it’s pretty obvious that I like to cook. Sure, getting to eat delicious food is part of it, but even more so, I love the therapeutic aspect of cooking. Working with my hands relaxes me, and having the chance to be creative with various ingredients and cooking methods helps me hit the reset button.
It wasn’t always that way, though. As a college student living on my own for the first time, I had no idea what to do in the kitchen, but I was curious. In my senior year, I had an internship at a publishing house that did cookbooks, and I got sent home with a bunch of different titles. I remember sitting on my floor (I did not have much in the way of furniture) trying to figure out how to recreate what I saw on those pages. Some of my early attempts were hilariously bad, but I was so hungry, I rarely cared. Well, there was that one time I tried to grill romaine leaves on a George Forman grill…Wouldn’t recommend anyone try that.
I also relied a lot on frozen meals. Amy’s bowls—especially the brown rice bowl and pasta shells—stick out in my mind. Now the company makes a ton of varieties I’ve never even heard of that my 20-year-old self would have definitely been into. Of course, this was in my pre-RD days when I never thought about sodium or preservatives or any of that other fun stuff, so I was mostly concerned with cost and taste, but in the grand scheme of things, my health nut Grandma and chemical-conscious mom had at least turned me on to some better alternatives that were available then. A lot more companies have been working on creating healthy, tasty frozen meals in the decade-plus since then, so even though I wouldn’t encourage making frozen meals a mainstay, having a few convenient options in the freezer can help you stick to a healthy eating routine.
Presentation is a whole other matter. You don’t need a degree in food psychology to know that eating soggy stir-fry from a cardboard bowl while standing at the kitchen counter is not going to be very satisfying. Research from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab shows many ways that what we see on the plate influences how much we eat and how fulfilled we feel.
Earlier this fall, I went to an event hosted by MorningStar Farms where we tasted some of their new products and enjoyed a wine pairing with each course.
Read More »