On average, how long does it take to eat one of your standard three meals? Less than 10 minutes? While doing something else at the same time? You would be surprised to hear how common it is, but also how much damage it might be doing to your health.
Due to our fast paced lives, eating really quickly and while distracted is almost considered to be the norm, even though it is detrimental to your body itself and its ability to absorb nutrients from your meal.
While taking an hour to eat each meal might be unrealistic, if you inhale your food before it hits the table (like many people tend to do), you’re putting your body at a disadvantage. If you slow down, breathe and focus on your food, you can reap the following health and lifestyle benefits including:
- Absorption of more nutrients into your body, allowing a positive impact from the foods you’re eating
- Preventing undigested food from entering your blood stream which can cause adverse effects to your health
- Allows you to maintain a healthy weight by registering the food you are consuming and the sensation of “fullness”
- Reduces the bacteria build up in your gut, along with other side effects including gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal pain and cramping
- Encourages you to enjoy the sensation and tastes your food has to offer, and allows you to be present at meal times.
If it takes approximately 20 minutes for your body to register fullness, and you are eating your meals in a much faster time frame, taking stock and consciously slowing down could be of benefit to your health and wellbeing. Our top tips for slowing down:
- Chew each mouthful approximately 30 times – it will give your jaw a workout, but also allow you to properly taste your food!
- Put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls. Holding your fork in your hand will encourage you to keep eating even before you’ve finished what’s already in your mouth.
- Try to take approximately 20 minutes to eat a main meal. If eating at home, set a timer and track your meal progress.
- ALWAYSsit down to eat at a table and away from distractions. Standing in the kitchen to eat adds a sense of urgency to meal times and doesn’t treat them like the “event” they are.
- Minimise distractions by turning off the tv, radio, etc. so you can give full focus to your meals and how your are eating.
- Use a plate and proper cutlery at meal times.
- Cut your food into smaller pieces as you eat. More bites = more time to chew and eat.
When you give some of these tips and tricks a try and turn them into a habit, you’ll be surprised to hear how much more enjoyable meals can be and how thankful your body will be for the change!