Our fast paced society includes fast paced eating. We have drive thru’s so we eat in our cars. Our kids have less than 30 minute lunches to wolf down their food. We rush through dinner to get to our practices, rehearsals or take home work.
Yet, we know the benefits of eating slowly. It helps your digestion, you stay hydrated more easily, its easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight and you enjoy your food more. If eating slowly creates these benefits, eating too quickly obviously causes the opposite effects. So if you suffer from indigestion or other GI problems, you might want to evaluate how quickly you eat your food.
One of the most important reasons to eat more slowly is it allows your brain to catch up with your stomach. It takes about 20 minutes from the time you begin eating for the brain to recognize when you are satiated, that is, full.
Many people eat so fast, their brain doesn’t have time to tell them they are done eating, and they end up consuming more calories than they need!
I’ll share a few tips to help eat more slowly. Even doing a few of them each day will make a big difference in how quickly or slowly you consume your food, and give you the added health benefits:
● Cut your bites smaller before putting them in your mouth. Then actually count how many times you chew before swallowing.
● Drink a glass of water before you sit down to eat – and during the meal – as this will make you feel more full, and less desperate to get the food into your mouth.
● Use smaller plates for smaller portions.
● If you usually use a fork, try using chopsticks! (If you’re not familiar with them, this will definitely slow you down.)
● Give yourself at least 20 to 30 minutes to eat…. Not the usual 5 to 10.
● Put down your utensil after each bite to savor both the flavors and the company
● Don’t eat when you’re bored; only when you’re truly hungry
● Don’t multitask while you eat; pay attention to the experience of eating
● Pause to consider where your food came from. The people who harvested it, transported it, stocked the shelves with it, and prepared it; maybe even the animals that were raised for your sustenance. Consider the cultural traditions that brought you to that table, and the recipes shared among family and friends. When you stop to consider all this, it may slow you down and help you make wise choices about sustainability and healthy food.
If you’re like most people I know, you probably lead a pretty busy, hectic life. But when you mindfully, intentionally slow down during your mealtime, you will feel healthier, have more control over your weight, and feel more connected to your food and to those at the table with you.
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