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Same food, better taste

THE GIST

You’ll enjoy at-work lunches more if you eat them off ceramic dishes and with metal utensils than you would if you used throwaway ones. It’s an example of mental seasoning, the idea that meals can taste better or worse depending on factors other than the food itself.

EXPERT INSIGHT

There are a few reasons using legitimate tableware influences how you perceive taste. “Since a metal utensil is heavier than a plastic one, it could capture your attention to a higher degree,” says Matt Berenc, director of education at the Equinox Fitness Training Institute in Beverly Hills. As a result, you’ll eat your lunch more mindfully, even if you’re parked at a desk.

Plus, the permanency of reusable dishes can make meals seem of higher value. “With a paper plate, you know it’s going to be thrown away, which makes the experience more transient,” he says.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Keep a bowl, plate, mug, and set of utensils at work and your desk lunches will feel more substantial. As a bonus, you’ll reduce waste from single-use products. Berenc recommends bringing dishes from home, which provide familiarity and comfort.