Every time I sit down to a meal, I have a choice to eat right and make healthy decisions, but when I'm feeling overly emotional, faced with super-sized portions, or just plain distracted, it's not always so easy. Wolfing down a meal can lead to overeating, which can pile on the pounds, so instead of feeling out of control, it's important to become aware of my behavior at meal times. Doing so improves my self-control and helps me thoroughly enjoy my dining experience without overeating. Here are seven things you should do at every meal so you can savor every bite, too!
Slow downSpeed eaters are more likely to overindulge because it takes about 20 minutes for people to recognize that they're full. To better read my body's hunger signals, I keep an eye on my watch (you could even set a timer) and make my meal last until those 20 minutes are up. Mindfulness can really help curb overeating, so chances are you won't want to eat more!
Sit downIf I stand and eat at the kitchen counter, it's easy to get distracted or quickly refill my plate. Instead, I sit down at my dining room table to enjoy my meal or snack. This way, I can really pay attention to how full my stomach feels.
Focus on what you're eatingI really try to chew my food, taste it, and savor it rather than inhaling. It's a real pleasure when I can slow down and concentrate on my food. I actually enjoy the experience, and it helps me focus on the amount of food I'm consuming, so I don't overdo it.
Seek out satisfying foodsI don't force myself to eat bland fare. Life's too short to eat bad food! Plus, eating boring food might cause you to resent healthy eating and turn your taste buds directly to those not-so-healthy foods. You want to enjoy your food! I go to to find low-calorie, flavorful recipe ideas and choose the ones that sound most appealing to you.
Eat with others It takes longer to eat—plus, it's more fun—when you're enjoying a meal with other people. I talk, laugh, and enjoy my meals with other people as much as possible.
Avoid family-style diningWhen food is within arm's length, it's easy to refill my plate and eat more than I need. Instead of dining family-style at meal time, I keep the food on the stove or in serving dishes in the kitchen away from the table.
Pretend like you're dining outWhen dining in a restaurant, I typically eat much slower than I do when I'm at home, so I try to mimic this experience by extending the time I spend on my meal. For weeknight dinners, I'll often set the table, enjoy a salad before the main course, and converse with my husband about our days.