One of the worst eating habits that Americans and many other cultures have acquired over the past 30 years is the pace at which we consume a meal. We have many modern conveniences to thank for the introduction of this terrible habit into our lifestyle, including fast food restaurants, drive-thru windows, shortened lunch hours, soup in a cup, yogurt in a tube, and the list goes on (and on). We eat while driving, eat while watching TV and as a result we eat much more food than we need.
Eating slowly is critical to healthy living. Not only does it aid in digestion, reducing your chances of bloating, stomach pain or heartburn after eating, but also when you eat slowly, you prevent overeating. Eating slowly, allows the stomach to signal the brain when you have eaten enough before we have eaten too much. This is a process that normally takes about 20 minutes. If we eat too fast, our brain does not register that we are full and we continue to eat and gain weight.
Here are few tips to help your family slow down at mealtimes:
- Drink a sip of water between mouthfuls of food.
- Encourage conversation at meals, and set your fork down to listen to the person speaking.
- Chew your food well before swallowing.
- Play slow, quiet music during meals.