Moms, personal trainers, and food advertisers all like to remind us, “we are what we eat.” If they’re right, then it seems mankind has finally stumbled upon a key to lifelong joy. The secret to being happy must simply be eating happy-looking foods! And really, I think we all have a scientific obligation to test out this hypothesis. After all, even if it turns out to be a faulty theory, it still gives us an excuse to play with our food.
To ensure accurate results, it would be insufficient to simply eat some happy face pancakes and call it a day. Doing this experiment justice requires eating smiley foods at multiple meals. Here are just a few suggestions for how to proceed:
Smiley-side-up eggs and bacon: Fry two eggs and put them next to each other on a plate to make eyes. Use a berry or a dab of ketchup for a nose. Then make a smile out of pieces of bacon (or sausage). If you’re really feeling adventurous, cut some toast into triangles and use them to make spikey hair or a goatee.
Fun fruit-n-nut oatmeal: Make a bowl of oatmeal thick enough to keep toppings on the surface. Arrange fruit (dried or regular) and nuts into a smiley face on top.
Happy face pancakes: It really wouldn’t be fair not to include the original smiling breakfast food. Not only that, there are so many awesome variations on this theme. You can use whipped cream, chocolate chips, fruit, syrup, and more, to customize this super-happy breakfast. And if you don’t mind entering a food coma, pancakes can even make a nice backdrop for smiley-side-up eggs and bacon.
Goldfish crackers: These are advertised as “the snack that smiles back,” so they definitely fall into the category of happy foods. Not to mention they are deliciously cheesy. And for extra fun, you can always try to toss and catch them in your mouth or bite them in half perfectly (if you’ve never tried this, beware, it can get extremely frustrating).
Teddy Grahams: Basically like Goldfish, but sweeter. And possibly even cuter.
Orange smiles: Technically, these are just the smile, not an entire happy face. But if you eat them properly (i.e. by sticking them in your mouth rind-side-out and smiling a very orange smile) then your own face becomes the rest of the happy face. Problem solved! All you need to do is slice an orange into mouth-sized sections and enjoy.
Lunch and Dinner:
Smilin’ Sandwiches: You can make these open-faced (so your smiling creation is on display for all to see) or you can keep the happy face hidden between the bread. Either way, there are about a million ways to make happy faces on a sandwich. You can make a lunchmeat or cheese background and then use vegetables to make a face. Or you can keep it simple, and simply squirt your mustard in a smiley-face pattern. If you are looking for something sweeter you could start with a classic PB&J, and then make a face with banana slices. For an even sweeter experience, incorporate some Nutella or honey.
Peppy Pizza: Turning a pizza into a happy face can be as simple as some strategic pepperoni placement. Or you could go wild and create a perfect self-portrait out of every topping under the sun. Or perhaps a perfect portrait of your boss (any unhappiness that occurs if you decide to show them their pizza portrait should not be included in the results of this experiment).
Smile Salad: Start with a nice bed of lettuce. Then arrange any other toppings you like into the face. Some cucumber eyes with olives for pupils, a cherry tomato nose, crouton hair, and a black bean smile might do nicely.
Cheerful chip cookies: Take your favorite chocolate chip (or any other kind of chip) cookie recipe and give it happy twist. Instead of mixing the chips into the batter, bake the cookies without chips first. As soon as you take them out of the oven, while they are still warm, press the chips into them in the form of a happy face.
Friendly fruit and yogurt: Begin with a bowl of fruit. Use yogurt to create the happy face of your choosing. Just kidding. You could do it that way, but I recommend trying it the other way around. Also, maybe add some granola hair for a little extra pizazz.
Countenance cupcakes: The only way to improve a cupcake is to give it a face. Frost ‘em and then add some tasty decorations to make the face. If you can’t pick between all the amazing decorating options, don’t worry, because that’s an entirely reasonable justification for eating several cupcakes.
Okay, so maybe eating foods with happy faces doesn’t directly make us happy. But all the fun we have in the process definitely counts for something!