When my son was a child, he was a poky eater. I can still picture him at the table, his cheeks puffed out with food as he picked at his plate. It’s not that he didn’t like the food. He just wasn’t in a rush to eat it.
Many years later, he still eats slowly — and so does his daughter. It turns out they have the right idea.
Research has shown that people who rush their meals are more likely to have metabolic syndrome, which is associated with heart disease, strokes and diabetes. They have a larger waistline, gain more weight and have higher blood glucose levels than slower eaters.
In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to down a bowl of cereal before heading out to work, gulp down lunch between meetings or inhale dinner before soccer practice.
To slow down the pace a notch, here are a few tips:
- Sit Down. Rather than grabbing a quick bite as you complete other tasks, sit at a table. Treat yourself as you would a guest.
- Reduce the Noise. Many of us tend to eat faster in a noisy environment. Turn off the TV and avoid loud music as you eat.
- Think About What You Are Eating. I’m only too tempted to pick up the newspaper or my iPad as I eat breakfast, but before I know it, the meal is over and I don’t know what I’ve eaten. Savor the flavors and textures of your food and escape from the outside world for a few minutes.
- Add Speed Bumps. Putting down your utensils between bites as you chew naturally slows down the pace. And don’t forget to take sips of water during the meal.
- Engage in Conversation. As you eat, concentrate as much on the conversation at the table as you do on your food. If you’re eating alone, you might want to listen to music or tune in to the sounds around you.
- Be Patient. It takes time to develop a new habit.