Have you ever thought about how your senses of sight, smell and touch impact the food choices you make? They are a vital component to our dietary decisions from what we choose to purchase at the grocery store or farmer’s market to what we order at a restaurant or cook at home.
More than 160 kids participated in TABLE’s recent SnackChef program dedicated to how our our sense of touch influences our perception of how food tastes and determines whether or not we will enjoy it. According to the Scientific American, “‘taste’ is actually a fusion of a food’s taste, smell and touch into a single sensation.” The children learned that we use our tongue, teeth, palate and fingertips to know what the food texture is and that texture is what makes jelly feel slippery or slimy or a biscuit crunchy and chewy. The wider the variety of textures in the food that we eat, the more likely we are to savor food and reach satiety.
During the lesson, the kids tried apple in its many forms including a slice of apple, apple chips, applesauce, and apple juice – made from apples, not from concentrate. The goal of the activity was to encourage the kids to try out foods with unique textures that they originally would not have tried on their own.
The children were asked to describe the texture of each of the apple forms. Their responses were all so different yet so unique to their particular sense. When asked to describe the texture of apple slices, the kids used words such as “soft”, “chewy”, “squishy”, and “crunchy”. When asked to describe the texture of applesauce, the kids used words such as “smooth”, “bumpy”, and “mushy”! By having the children try each food and then put into words how that food felt vs. how it tasted demonstrated just how differently we all experience food and how texture affects taste.
Together with the other lessons in the series, the children learned that eating is not just about taste – it’s an experience that includes each of our five senses!
The next time you prepare a meal, we encourage you to engage your senses and teach your children how touching, seeing and smelling their food can revolutionize the way they view food.
Here’s a fun recipe we wanted to share from the lesson. It’s a great choice for your next healthy snack!
- Diced fruit (berries or kiwi)
- Crisped rice cereal
Directions: Cut an apple in half so that you have a flat surface. Spread a thin layer of yogurt on the apple half. Top with raisins, diced fruit, and crisp rice cereal.
Learn more about how how texture affects taste: