They're fun, they're easy and if you choose the right ones they're not very messy. Here at EatFirst, we love a share plate or two in our office. Whether it's super-simple cheese boards or big bowls of mouth-watering curries, it gets us together for lunch and a chat.
But, we'll admit, not every food works well shared.
What are the best foods for sharing?
Here are some delicious food options that are ideal for sharing, whether it's on ‘eat with a friend' day on 25 November, or any other day of the work week.
Rice paper rolls. Get a variety of flavours and enjoy a roll or two with your colleagues. Depending on the fillings ordered, these can easily accommodate a range of special diets including gluten and dairy free as well as Kosher and Halal. Where to get it: Chao Catering in Sydney
Lebanese platter. From savoury finger foods like tasty koftas, flatbread pieces, hummus and dips to easy-to-eat wraps filled with anything from tasty marinated meats to perfectly cooked falafel. Just don't forget the toum! Where to get it: We love Agraba in Melbourne
Pasta bowls.* Who doesn't love pasta? Get it plain with quality marinara sauce for special diets (or picky eaters!), stuffed with cheese and meat as delicious ravioli or slathered in creamy sauces or topped with chilli for a spicy kick. Bring a fork everyone! Where to get it: Marcellina Pizza in Adelaide
Cheese and charcuterie boards. An absolute classic that is a great entree to a meal, perfect as a snack and pairs well with wine. Have a few of these laying around for grazing and you've got the perfect share plates. Where to get it: We love Luxurious Grazing in Adelaide
Sushi. Great for special diets as it's usually gluten and dairy free and has a range of meat/fish-free options, sushi is not only tasty but a healthy option. Where to get it: We love Sushi Jones in Sydney
Party pies and sausage rolls. A long-time Australian favourite, these little bite-sized pastries in a variety of flavours are perfect finger food snacks. Where to get it: We love Tall Poppies Catering or Parisi, both in Sydney
Pizza. You can't go wrong with a fresh slice of cheesy pizza. Order in a bunch of flavour combinations, grab a slice of each, and you've got yourself a party. Where to get it: We love in Arrivederci Brisbane.
Sliders. Who doesn't love a good burger? Juicy patties, fluffy brioche buns and because they're small, it's only half the guilt of eating a full burger - right? Many caterers offer slider platters with a range of proteins, including vegetarian options, making them great for a crowd. Some even do breakfast sliders too; talk about yum! Where to get it: We love Top Food and Events in Melbourne.
Nachos. Crunchy, cheesy and spicy, the ultimate trio! Great as a casual snack with a bit of guacamole and salsa, or pile on the toppings like meats, cheeses and beans for a heartier shared meal.
Where to get it: We love Guzman Y Gomez, which can be found right across Australia.
Dumplings. Often served by the dozen, these little morsels of deliciousness are great for sharing with a group. They come with a variety of fillings, so order a few for the crowd and see which ones are your favourite. Where to get it: We love Family Tea House in Melbourne
Donuts. The perfect excuse to have dessert for breakfast, everyone loves a fresh cinnamon donuts or tasty glazed ring. Where to get it: We love Dr Dough Donuts in Sydney and Melbourne.
Indian. Comforting and the perfect combination of spicy, sweet and savoury, you can't go wrong with family-style Indian catering with butter chicken, tandoori chicken, naan, lamb biryani and more. Where to get it: We love Beyond India in Adelaide
*Okay, we know foods like pasta and Indian curries aren't always the easiest cleanest of share foods, but when you think of family meals growing up, these were always a staple - for a reason. For the workplace, you may want to consider using environmentally friendly disposable cutlery and the clean-up is much easier!
More than just a meal, here's why you should consider share plates
There's heaps of benefits to be reaped when sharing food with others. Breaking bread can remove barriers, help us explore new cultures and build stronger connections with others. Whether it's sitting down to dinner with your loved ones or a simple working lunch with your colleagues, it can lead to a happier and healthier you.
Food brings us together, so here are some reasons why you need to grab your bestie or your team and get eating together!
It helps you stay connected
Did you know eating with other people helps strengthen bonds and build relationships? A 2015 study by Cornell University found that eating together can help establish stronger connections with their peers and boost job performance. Food brings people together, regardless of age and social class and lets you share stories, laugh and enjoy each other's company.
"In addition to the gorgeous nourishment that food provides, it’s a chance to connect with others and take the time to understand what is going on in their world," OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn told SBS.
You can develop healthier eating habits
Studies have shown that adults tend to make healthier food choices when they're in a group. Another study also found that children who ate with their family were more likely to eat healthier.
Eating together releases positive emotions
Having a meal with others can boost your mood and some studies have even shown that it can help alleviate depression.
"“There is some evolutionary evidence that eating with others provides social and individual benefits: those who eat together with others more often tend to feel happier, be more satisfied with life and are more trusting of others," Dr Rachel A. Ankeny, a professor from the University of Adelaide, told SBS.
You can learn something new
Whether you're with family or with new friends, eating together is a great way to expand your horizons. Interact with colleagues from other departments, establish stronger bonds with your team, learn about new cultures – food is the universal language that brings everyone together.
Build trust with your fellow diners
Taking a step back to our instinctual roots, sharing the same food with people is one of the best ways to build trust. It sends a subconscious signal to our brains that lets us know the food is safe and the people you are sharing it with can be trusted. This is a part of our brain that is relied upon to build relationships and trust within our tribes or teams.
Browse our menus for your next team lunch
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