Savor your food … slowly
March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” a message that reaches across age, tradition, and enjoyment. Why do we eat? Because food tastes good, that’s why. Taking the time to really enjoy what you’re eating, who you’re with and what you’re doing can greatly add to the entire experience of a simple meal.
As a species, we need to eat in order to live. Take a few minutes to check out the internet or watch TV and you’ll observe that we also live to eat. Right now my Facebook newsfeed is nearly drowning in those popular food videos showing how to make everything from an easy crockpot dinner to a sugar-filled deep fried dessert. Why? Because we love to eat food that tastes good.
I’m not judging anyone on their food choices. In fact, I encourage everyone to thoroughly enjoy what they eat. Food brings us together culturally and socially, helping to create lasting memories. I have very fond memories of cooking and eating with my family when I was a child. I also have enjoyed passing those foods down to my young relatives hoping to keep the joy going for generations to come.
While we can’t live without eating, it can be very easy to develop the habit of eating more than we need. It’s especially hard to stop eating a food that has all the right ingredients to cloud our ability to listen to our body. Fat, sugar and salt offer an irresistible pull to our taste buds which can make it difficult to stop eating when we are full.
Something that has gotten lost for many of us is staying aware of what we eat. Paying attention to what we eat during a meal or snack is key to a healthy diet. Avoiding activities that interfere with our enjoyment, such as watching TV, playing on the computer or talking on the phone can help us develop a mindful eating pattern. It’s difficult to recognize your fullness in the middle of all our daily activities.
Whether you’re planning your next celebration or a simple meal, consider all the wonderful tastes you can add to increase your enjoyment. Then take a minute to consider the atmosphere. Turning down the noise and cutting back on distractions will help bring the focus to one thing at a time, so you can truly enjoy your food to the fullest.
Like these ideas but need help? Consider visiting with a registered dietitian. We can help you create healthy goals that are also realistic. Life is too short to avoid food you love!
Mary Koch is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.