Slow Down, Enjoy Your Food

eating with chopsticks
In our fast-paced culture, it's no surprise we scarf down food as we are busy doing other things -- working, cooking, watching TV, socializing. Before you know it, that delicious meal you sat down to enjoy is gone, and you aren't exactly satisfied. There are many benefits to slowing down, paying attention to what you're eating and really living in meal time. 

Why should I bother eating slowly? 

  1. You consume less.
  2.  Improves the digestion process and prevents heartburn and indigestion.
  3.  Enhances the dining experience – you end up tasting your food more and enjoying the flavors and textures.
  4. Allows the natural signals of fullness to register - so you don't eat too much (set aside at least 20 minutes for each meal as it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to produce the hormones that tell your brain that you’re full).

If you’re breaking speed records at meals, consider these simple but effective strategies.   

Tips To Slowing Down at Meal Time

  • Use chopsticks for all cuisines when you’re eating at home. It will automatically slow down your rate of eating and the amount of food you’re going to eat. If you’re a pro with chopsticks, however, make sure to use them in the opposite hand.
  • When you’re out at a restaurant, make sure to eat with your non-writing hand. This will force you to slow down.
  • Relax when you get home from a long day. Instead of going straight to the kitchen, take a couple of minutes to relax by washing your face, changing into comfortable clothes, etc. Decompress before you start your meal. Don’t give food the power to relieve your stress!
  • Be the talker, not the eater when dining out. Focus on the conversation at the dinner table, not on finishing your plate!
  • When at home, time your meals using a watch or a kitchen timer until you get used to the slower pace
  • Make sure to put your fork or spoon down after every bite and take a sip of water when you’re at home or eating out.  At first, this will seem awkward and tedious, but you’ll be surprised how much sooner you’ll feel full.

Foods That Force You to Slow Down

  • Seafood with the shell on, like lobster, crabs and mussels
  • Fruit you have to peel, like oranges and grapefruit
  • Frozen Italian ices or frozen grapes
  • Frozen Greek yogurt
  • Very hot soup

Heather Bauer, RD CDN
Heather Bauer, RD CDN


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