We have all heard that eating more slowly is healthy because it can help us eat less. By taking more time to eat, we can focus on the flavors rather than the quantity of food therefore meals are more satisfying even if we eat less. The tricky part is not understanding why but HOW. How can we eat more slowly?! How can we surpass the average length of time for a meal (a mere 11 minutes!!) and eat less without being (or feeling like we are) on a diet?
1. Start the meal with a soup or a salad. Beginning the meal with a lower calorie food can help satisfy your immediate hunger and allows you to take your time with the main dish (which is higher in calories).
2. Serve yourself less. Having less food in front of you puts less of a stress on your self control and makes it a no-brainer to eat less.
3. Turn off the TV. Focus on the task at hand- tasting flavors and textures, hearing the crunch, feeling the food descend into your stomach. Lets give food the attention it deserves!
4. Dim the lights, light candles and listen to slow music. With a calmer environment we tend to be calmer when eating.
5. Put down the fork between bites. Physically forcing yourself to take a breath before picking up the fork again, helps to slow down this physical habit.
6. Eat with chopsticks. The bites will be smaller but will likely be tastier!
7. Chew eat bite 4-5 times before swallowing. This will help with digestion as well.
8. Take a sip of water between bites. The water not only takes up space in our stomach but it forces you to take a breath between bites.
9. Pick a time to take a break from the meal (ex. in 5 minutes). Use this break time to evaluate how hungry/full you are and decide if you have to continue eating. This helps to remove our automatic behavior of finishing our plate.
10. Focus on the flavors. Try to identify the spices and herbs used in the recipe. We naturally eat new foods slower because we are trying to taste everything. Why not rediscover a regular recipe this same way?