Knowing what to eat can be tricky and there are often a lot of variables to consider when deciding the type of diet that is best for you. So for today, let's focus on how we eat. There are 3 simple things that we can all do to help improve our eating habits which in turn can improve our consumption, digestion, and experience with food.
1. Use Smaller Plates
We are a very visual species and often the first part of a meal begins with the eyes, whether that is at the supermarket, on the farm, or in the fridge. So it is no surprise that the way our food is presented to us matters as well. Studies show that we are more likely to consume more food, unintentionally, when we are served food in larger dishes. Simply by using smaller dishes we can re-train ourselves to eat smaller portions that are more appropriate for a healthy digestive system and won't leave us stuffed to the brim.
2. Chew thoroughly
This is a simple habit that we can do with each meal to slow us down and actually help us with our digestion. Not only will chewing thoroughly help mechanically breakdown food better, it will also help stimulate the release of saliva which not only helps stabilize the oral microbiota but is full of enzymes to help breakdown the food even further. With that, adding crunchier foods such as beets, carrots, celery, apples, pears, nuts, and other high fiber and low processed foods is the way to go. These are going to take longer to chew (stimulate more saliva), feed the beneficial oral microbes and potentially strengthen our molars.
3. Savor the flavor
We all know how busy we all are, we remind each other daily. But meal time should be our time to savor the flavor and the moment. This means avoiding eating on the go, in a rush, or while multitasking. It can be a time to yourself or a time to share with others. It can also be a moment to improve your relationship with food. As removed as we are from the food production, it's no wonder why we are disconnected from the eating experience as well. We tend to eat based on convenience, pleasure, and sometimes even distraction. So it's important to reconnect with our food and treat this time as more than a way to reduce hunger. It's a time to nourish, replenish, and be thankful for what's in front of us.
I hope these quick tips help you reconnect and fill your meal time with intentionality.
Kierstin DeWitt ND