The Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating the last week of National Nutrition Month by appreciating the traditions and experiences that food adds to our lives. Food not only nourishes our bodies, by providing fuel and nutrients, but also provides source of pleasure and enjoyment.
As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics mentioned in their February 2 press release, whether it is a nightly family dinner, special occasion, or social gathering, food often plays a central role. And that is not a bad thing!
In fact, research shows that family meals can promote healthier eating and stronger relationships. But in today’s society, we often eat too quickly and mindlessly losing the appreciation for the flavors, textures, and traditions that eating can bring.
So how we can appreciate food?
By slowing down.
Slowing down while eating can help us to use all of our senses, including hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting during a eating event. Using these senses while eating can help us to acknowledge the different aromas, flavors, and textures of the food. This often leads to a appreciation of the food in regards to what was involved in the meal as well as aid us in choosing foods that are satisfying to us.
Plus, those that slow down while eating are more aware of hunger and satiety cues. This leads to eating less overall, as eating slowly gives time for our stomachs to communicate with our brains that we are full. A winning combination for those focusing on weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight.
Eating slowly or mindful eating can help us in many ways including having satisfaction with our eating experiences, gaining insight into our food choices, and helping us eat less overall. My challenge for you is to choose one tip from below to try this week to discover the flavors and textures of your next meal:
- Schedule time in your schedule to ONLY focus on eating and not multitasking or watching TV
- Try eating sitting down, not standing up
- Smell your food before starting your next meal to discover the aroma
- Choose to put your silverware down between each bite until your food is fully chewed
- Pay attention to how many times you chew
Along with learning about a nourishing diet for you and your family, a Registered Dietitian can also aid you in becoming a mindful eater. Please contact a Registered Dietitian in your area on the Idaho Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website by clicking Find a RD.
How do you mindfully eat?