How To Eat A Meal

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You may think it’s strange to see a blog post on how to eat a meal. After all, don’t we all instinctually know how to eat? Isn’t it built into our DNA?

Yes! We should instinctually know how to eat. The challenge is that in our current fast-paced society, we’ve gotten out of touch with the art of eating well. And this has negative consequences for our bodies.  

Here are my four tips for eating a meal:

1. Eat in a relaxed state.

When we eat in a stressed state, our body’s sympathetic nervous system is aroused. This means that the energy in our bodies is sent out to our arms and legs so we can make a quick escape if we need to. When the body is stressed, it is geared for quick movement. Just imagine eating lunch at your desk at work and stressing the entire time about all of the reports you need to finish in the afternoon.

When our bodies are under stress, less energy is available for digesting food. This can lead to gas and bloating and a generally unhappy tummy when we eat.

On the other hand, if we eat when we are relaxed, then energy is switched over to our parasympathetic nervous system. This means that energy goes to digesting food and absorbing nutrients.

Notice how you feel when you are about to eat. If you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of deep breaths to relax and get your parasympathetic system in gear and then dig in!

2. Chew your food.

This may seem like a strange tip. Doesn’t everyone chew their food before they swallow?! Yes. BUT…most people only chew their food a couple of times before swallowing. This means your stomach has to work really hard to break your food down all the way. And your stomach doesn’t have teeth to do this!

Instead, chew your food really thoroughly before swallowing. This allows the enzymes in your saliva to really break down your food. You want your food to be fairly mushy before you swallow it. Your tummy will thank you! And…chewing thoroughly also forces you to slow down. This keeps you more relaxed during your meal.

3. Eat until you’re 80% full.

You want to be sure to eat until you’re full, but not stuffed. When you overeat, all of your energy goes to digestion.

Do you ever get that uncomfortably full feeling after eating…where you just want to sit down and unbutton your pants and take a nap? Your body doesn’t have the energy to do other things because it’s focusing on digesting that huge meal!

Eating until you’re 80% full will leave you feeling more energized.

4. Taste your food.

When you eat, does your food go down so quickly that you don’t really taste it?

It’s important to be really present when you’re eating. This means you want to really taste all of the flavors of your food. Notice the textures in your mouth.

Eating should be a pleasurable experience.

When you gulp down your food too quickly, your brain doesn’t recognize that you’re satisfied and it’s going to keep asking you for something pleasurable to eat. This is why you can have a full meal and then afterward, you feel like you just need a little something more.

When you really taste your food, your brain will be happy and you’ll be less likely to continue searching the cupboards for a snack.

There you have it! My four tips for eating a meal. I hope you’ve found these helpful.

I’d love to hear from you. If you have tips on eating a meal well, please share in the comments below!

For more tips on healthy living, visit my blog page here

Julie Watson