So many of my clients consider themselves to be foodies and often this love for food is conflicted because it is both enjoyed and hated. Enjoyed because food tastes good and brings them pleasure but hated because they feel it gets in the way of their goals (whether they it weight management, lowering cholesterol or managing blood sugars). I, on the other hand, feel that this title should be embraced to enhance ones health. Foodies love to experience new foods, explore flavor combinations, and don’t want to waste a bite on foods that don’t meet their high expectations. Quality, not quantity, is the attitude for foodies.
Studies have proven that our satisfaction levels during and after a meal rely more on the flavor intensity and time we took to enjoy the food rather than the quantity eaten. If we merely took more than the average 18 minutes to enjoy a family meal, we could naturally cut down on how much we eat. Setting a time in which everyone must stay seated at the table, serving food over multiple courses (ex. salad first, then main meal) or even eating with chop sticks can help you and your family enjoy more time together and more time savoring the food.
Also, respecting taste thresholds can help us to naturally eat less. There are only so many bites we can take of a food before it starts to lose its appeal. This does take some effort to open the lines of communication between the body and the brain in order to “hear” our body’s signals. In order to get around this problem of taste bud fatigue, we tend to alternate between salty and sweet food. A good example of this is having dessert at the end of a big meal- we aren’t hungry but somehow the sweet ending still tastes good. So, if we avoid cycling between the two at meals or snacks, we may ultimately help ourselves eat less.
Practicing leaving a little food on the plate can also help to avoid overeating when we eat just because the food is sitting there. Stop feeling guilty about not finishing the plate and turn up the volume on what your stomach determines as “enough”. Rating your hunger on a scale of 1-10 halfway between the meal can slow down the meal and help you determine how much more food you need.
So, next time you are served a less than desirable piece of complementary cake with your lunch combo or notice last week’s stale croissant sitting on the counter- listen to your inner food critic to determine if it’s really worth your time (and taste).