Nutrition: Eat AwareSqueezeItIn.com Girls
Extra flab, beware! Patricia Bannan is back to teach us to “eat aware.” Make sure to check out her new book Eat Right When Time Is Tight: 150 Slim-Down Strategies and No-Cook Food Fixes. We’re believers!
Master Strategy 4: Eat Aware
by Patricia Bannan, MS, RD
When you eat a meal while driving or working at your desk, you’re ingesting calories, but can you say you are enjoying it? Not really. Eating on the go may be your default, but that’s something you may choose to change—at least some of the time.
“Eat aware” has several meanings. First, make an effort to become more mindful when you eat—at least once a day. That means taking time to savor your food, even if it’s just a turkey sandwich on rye. We multi-task to get more done, but when you eat and never pay attention to your food, you’re more likely to feel unsatisfied after your meal, and more likely to eat again later searching for that satisfaction. Becoming mindful doesn’t mean you have to assume a lotus position or savor the inner essence of every raisin you consume. I’m just asking you to spend an extra few minutes focusing on your food, its taste, how it smells, and the texture. You’ll find you eat more slowly, enjoy your food more, and are satisfied with less. That’s a good thing.
If you want to become more mindful of what you’re eating, consider keeping a food journal. Research shows that simply writing down what you eat and when you eat it aids in weight loss efforts. It also makes you more likely to make healthy choices. Something about having to write down “3:30 p.m., inhaled 6 Oreos” helps keep you on the straight and narrow, nutrition-wise.
“Eat aware” also means being smarter about the food choices you make. Eat closer to the earth by choosing more whole-foods like fruit and vegetables and less food packaged in plastic (think chips, cookies, candy). Look for ways to support sustainable farms and buy locally-grown produce at the supermarket. You don’t have to make every vegetable organic, but the more attention you pay to your food and how it’s grown and treated, the healthier your diet will be in the long run.
Three ways to implement this strategy:
- Eat while sitting down (driving doesn’t count) and doing nothing else (no TV, email, telephone, or reading) once a day.
- Buy organic and locally-grown foods when you can.
- Read the label on food products you buy often; aim for whole foods containing simple ingredients that you understand.