Food is seen by many of us as a fuel for life. When we eat the right things, we feel better and perform better in work and life. When we get hungry, we get distracted and don't do anything quite as well as we normally would. The benefits of eating the right things at the right time are well established (although we can all admit we sometimes don't quite do so). Eat right, feel right, work right.
Food, though, is more than just fuel. It plays a number of key roles in our lives. It has a social aspect to it, from restaurants and dinner parties. It has a celebratory side – Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well as party foods. And it can have real comfort value, for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the right food isn't the nutrition option – sometimes, it's the thing you most want right now.
Food You Want When… You're Watching A Movie
When you're sitting down for a couple of hours to watch a film, or binge-watch something on TV, you don't want to be messing with cutlery. What you want is something more convenient. You can certainly do this with a healthy aim – tasty salads, chopped carrots and healthy sandwiches. Or, for a treat, sometimes you just want a pizza, ice cream or chips. Don't do this every night, though.
Food You Want When… It's Cold Outside
There is a wide range of options in many cookbooks devoted to the idea of “winter warmers”. Depending on where you live, these may also be autumn and spring warmers. If you have a slow cooker (this is the one that we use, I love that it has clamps so that we can close it and take it places with us) or crock pot, indulge recipes for casseroles or chilli. If you don't have time, then it's time to go into the cupboard. Sometimes, all you really want is some warm & delicious canned soup with crackers or warm toasted bread.
Food You Want When… Everything Just Seems Too Much
We've all had days when nothing seems to be going right. Out of bed on the wrong side, hit every red light on the way to work. Once you're at work, everything's just a bit off. When you get home, the last thing you want is to get in the kitchen and do a couple more hours of tiring slog. At times like this something quick and comforting, like a grilled cheese sandwich or a medium rare steak on a sub roll, will work wonders.
Eating right isn't always easy, and particularly not if you are busy, tired or just want to settle for the evening. And from time to time, it's OK to let yourself off the leash. At the same time, it is always worth keeping in mind that there are quick, healthy options too. So you don't need to break your diet to have something speedy.
Food is so much more than just fuel. It can be a comfort blanket or an accompaniment to celebration. It can perform a wide range of roles, and can be complicated and sophisticated or basic and satisfying. Pick the right food at the right time, and you'll enhance any experience.