Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eating Slowly in a Fast Paced World

In today's society everything is high speed. What once took weeks now takes mere minutes or seconds.

That goes for mail, travel and particularly mealtimes. We can heat up our meal in our microwave in less than 5 minutes or we can spend 30 minutes preparing dinner, only to consume it in less time.

Why then, when everything is so fast paced, would anyone want to eat slowly? There are many reasons, including: reduction of stress, improved digestion, enjoyment of your food and the people with whom you are sharing it, and controlling portion sizes by allowing your stomach time to realize it is full. How then, do we slow down our eating when we are used to being so fast and efficient? Try a few of these simple steps to eat more slowly and purposefully in a world where fast and efficient is the way of life:

  • Always sit down when you eat. When you stand, it is much easier to try multi-tasking, which makes it more difficult to pay attention to when you become full.
  • Reduce the amount of distractions around you when you eat, such as turning off the TV and having a space clear of clutter for your plate.
  • Chew your food completely between bites. This can be accomplished by putting down your fork or spoon while you chew and only picking it up again when your mouth is empty.
  • Take the time to really notice the taste and texture of your food.

Experimenting with any or all of these ideas will help you to slow down and relax during whatever meal of the day you choose to be your time away from life in the express lane.

- Laine Lum, MS, dietetic intern, and Debra A. Boutin, MS, RD, chair and dietetic internship director, Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at Bastyr University

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