Modern life pressures take away all the time needed to prepare homemade food, resulting in eating away from home or looking for quick and easy solutions even when at home! Indeed, recent data shows that US residents spend about $ 365 million annually for takeaway and restaurant food.
In recent years and with the obesity rates rising, a new technique regarding the way people approach food is gaining ground. The approach focuses on ‘conscious eating’ (mindful eating), i.e. a way of eating with full consciousness and not mechanically and / or out of habit.
Let’s look at some ways we can make the process of eating our food more fun!
1. A basic principle of ‘conscious eating’ is to feel each and every bite. Try to feel the taste of salt, the smell and taste of spices, in other words the flavour of every ingredient.
2. If it is difficult to ‘break’ the mechanical way of eating, try to energize your senses before every bite. Smell your food, measure the colours on your plate, feel the clothes touching your body, and feel your shoes. This reduces the chances of eating mechanically, not consciously.
3. In case you eat out in a restaurant, find the restaurant menu and plan your order in advance. Most restaurants have their menu posted online, so you can decide what to eat before going to the restaurant and without being carried away by what you see or smell there, while you’re hungry!
4. If it is difficult to eat slowly, try to eat with your left hand or even with chopsticks. That’ll break the habit of eating quickly and mechanically.
5. Start your meal with a salad or raw vegetables. This will help you fill up faster and reduce the chances of overeating.
6. Get full control of your meal. Do not hesitate to ask the waiter or host (if you are in another house) on how they prepared the food, how big the portions are, the type of meat used, sauces and ingredients. Ask whether you can replace fries with a potato salad or mashed potatoes etc.
7. Do not get carried away by the attractive descriptions of meals like ‘juicy’, ‘crunchy’ or anything similar. It has been found that such descriptions increase the sales of these dishes by 23%! Stay focus on what you really want to eat.
8. Beware of appetizers. Without realizing it, will load you with as many calories as a full main meal. Choose only a small portion of your favourite appetizers and stick to that.
9. Alcohol in moderation. Alcohol enhances our mood and leads to overeating. You can accompany your meal with a glass of red wine, but try to eat only what you have planned and is on your plate.
10. There is no need to finish your meal. Once you are full, there is no need to turn your stomach into dustbin. If in a restaurant ask if they can package the food and take it with you and if you’re home, keep it in the fridge to consume it later.
11. When you have finished your meal, ask the waiter to remove your plate or when at home get up and stay away from the kitchen table. It has been found that the more we are exposed to foods, the more we eat.
12. As for dessert, remember that one to two mouthfuls are sufficient to change your taste. A smart rule is to always share the dessert with someone else so to share the calories too!
These are just 12 ways for eating smart. I am sure that there many more tips but these will help you start thinking about conscious rather than mechanical eating.