Looking to brighten up your plate this spring? In this article Hayley Baddiley from the ceramics and homeware brand Denby shares her top tips for adding colour to your favourite seasonal dishes.

Spring is in the air and many of us are thinking up ways to incorporate the gorgeous colours of the season into our lives. There are a number of ways to do this, such as decorating our homes with colourful spring shades, incorporating seasonal colours into our wardrobes, or even adding spring colours to our diets.

Not only does having more colour on your plate make your meals more aesthetically pleasing, but it can even be beneficial for your health too! Read on to discover how colour can impact your diet and appetite, and use my tips to add more vibrant and stunning shades to your dishes.

How colour can effect your diet

The colour of your meals can play a major factor in the nutrition of your dish. Naturally colourful fruits and vegetables contain compounds called phytonutrients, which act as antioxidants. These antioxidants are associated with lower levels of cardiovascular disease, and may also reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels (British Heart Foundation).

Considering  the benefits that colourful foods have, it’s no surprise that diets full of colour, such as the Mediterranean diet, are considered to be the healthiest by scientists and dietitians (Harvard Chan).

And it isn’t just the colour of your meal which can have an impact either. The colours around you can impact your mood, which may in turn affect your appetite. The brain responds to different colours in different ways. For example, warm colours like red and orange can make you feel excited and energised, while cool shades like green and blue can make you feel calm and serene (Verywell Mind). So it’s important to consider not just the colours in your dish, but the surrounding shades too.

Fun and stylish ways to add colour to your plate

So how exactly do you use colour to make your dishes both stylish and nutritious? The good news is that there are a number of simple and effective ways to use vibrant colours in your meals.

Add colour and flavour with herbs

Herbs are great at adding both natural colour and flavour to a meal. They’re incredibly versatile too, so you should be able to include a type of herb in whatever dish you’re making. If you’re looking to get out in the garden more, you can even try growing herbs yourself. Some herbs come with beautiful edible flowers as well, which can make a great addition to both your garden and your meals! If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few tasty and colourful herbs to try out:

  • Dill: This delicious garnish can be used to flavour roast vegetables, fish, salads, and sauces such as tzatziki. Vibrant yellow dill flowers can also be used in salads and to garnish nutritious grain bowls.
  • Rosemary: Rosemary can be used in a variety of savoury dishes, including casseroles, soups, and focaccia. The flowers of this herb come in a variety of colours, and make a delicious addition to salads and soups.
  • Pineapple sage: This herb is great for flavouring meat dishes, and can even be used in sweet recipes too, such as homemade sorbets. The vivid red flowers can also be a beautiful garnish for cold drinks and salads.

Make bright and healthy spaghetti out of vegetables

If you have a household of pasta lovers, this is a great food to try. Not only is it a delicious way to get more veggies in, but there are so many colours to choose from too. The great thing about vegetable spaghetti is that it is versatile. As well as enjoying it Italian-style, you could also use the vegetables as noodles for a stir fry, or even raw in a colourful salad.

Courgette is a popular vegetable to use as spaghetti, as it’s got the ideal soft texture and it cooks in no time. Known as courgetti, this food isn’t rich in flavour itself but it does a great job at soaking up the flavour in sauces and spices, so it will pair perfectly with a strong and tasty sauce. Carrot is another vegetable which works well as spaghetti. The sweetness of the carrot comes through well, so it can be enjoyed with just a bit of oil, salt, and pepper.

Try out some new fruits and veggies

A great way to have some fun with your dishes and add some colour too is by experimenting with new fruits and vegetables. While your favourite classics can make a great addition to a dish, trying out new ones will help you discover new flavours and maybe even find a new favourite recipe! Plus, there are so many unique and fascinating fruits and vegetables out there, so you’re spoilt for choice.

If you’re looking for a flavourful new addition to a fruit salad, you may want to try out kumquat. These tiny orange citrus fruits are eaten with the skin on. The skin is delicious and sweet, while the inside of the fruit has a tangy and tart taste, so it’s sure to add strong flavour to any sweet dish. And if you’re a tomato lover, you may also enjoy a tomatillo. They’re green in colour and have a tarter taste than regular tomatoes, so they make a great addition to hot sauces, gazpacho, and tacos.

Serve your meal on a stylish dining set

Remember, it isn’t just about the colour of the meal but about the colour of your surroundings too. And considering you’ll spend a good chunk of time looking at your food, it’s a good idea to choose stylish plates and bowls in appealing colours. Yellow and red shades can make you hungry, so you may want to avoid dining sets in these colours to prevent eating past fullness (Color Meanings). Stress can also lead you to overeat, so opt for plates and bowls in calming colours, like greens and blues.

You may also want to spend some time on the presentation of your dish too. Studies have found that people can find food tastier when it is presented well (ScienceDirect).  Try to choose stylish and durable plates and bowls for serving and keep the food in the perimeter of the plate to make it look tidy. And to decorate your dish whilst adding an extra dose of flavour, try adding a delicious garnish to the plate.

Spring is the perfect time to experiment with colour and add more vibrancy to your dishes. If you use the tips above, you’ll be able to create delicious, nutritious, and stylish meals.