We hear plenty these days about what to eat (and not eat) but very little about how to eat. Eating is more than a necessary “pit stop.” It is an experience that adds enjoyment and value to life. According to eating expert Ellyn Satter, people with a high eating competence are more comfortable both with themselves and others.
Here are seven tips for improving your eating habits.
1. Slow down. It takes approximately 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to start receiving the “full” signal. If you’re eating fast you can consume a lot of calories in 20 minutes!
2. Smell the food. Savoring the aroma of your food prepares both your taste buds and salivary glands.
3. Take small bites. Not only is this good manners, it helps you slow down and pay attention to what you are eating.
4. Chew well. Digestion actually begins in the mouth. Try for 40 chomps per bite (excluding soups and sauces). Chewing thoroughly helps you develop a feeling of satiety. It also brings out the taste of the food.
5. Enjoy your food. Research shows that when the joy goes out of eating nutrition suffers. Don’t worry about how much the food costs or that it might harm you. If you’re eating the best food you can, receive it thankfully.
6. Appreciate the entire experience. Lay down your silverware between bites and engage in the conversation around you. Enjoy your surroundings. But don’t watch TV, surf the web or read—those things lead to mindless eating.
7. Listen to your body. If your body tells you something is not agreeing with you, stop eating it and try something else if you’re still hungry. When it tells you you’re full, stop eating. A “clean plate” mentality won’t help the starving children in India. Find a different way to assist with that.
Everyone has to eat to live. Investing a little time and attention in doing it right can go a long way toward improving both your health and happiness.