March is National Nutrition Month!
Every year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates healthy eating. This year's theme is Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.
Savor the Flavor of Eating Right is all about encouraging people to enjoy all of the aspects of food: the tastes, the traditions, and the time spent sharing it with friends and family.
How to Save the Flavor
These days it's easy to get distracted and eat mindlessly or completely skip a meal. Even I find myself snacking while I'm writing a blog post or working on a standardized recipe at work. Before I know it my meal is over and my body hasn't registered the calories I consumed. Following these steps can help prevent that mindless eating:
Step 1: Put it on a plate. This serves 2 purposes. First, it helps identify what you're truly hungry for. No more impulsively eating out of the container, or rumaging through the fridge for the first open bag of carrots or a random slice of cheese. Take the moment to chose what will satisfy your hunger and what you will truly enjoy. Second, the size of your plate will influence how much you eat. A study published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2013 showed that subjects ate more food when served on a larger plate.
Step 2: Chew more. Horace Fletcher is the pioneer of this movement and althought it sounds obvious, chewing throroughly helps digest the food. We physically break it down into smaller particles. We also chemically break down starchy foods due to an ezyme called amylase that's in our saliva. (Ever leave a cracker on your tongue and let it dissolve? That sweet taste is amylose sugar breaking down).
Step 3: Put the fork or the food down in between bites. This one is tougher, especially when the flavor is so tasty. This will allow you to be more mindful about the flavors and textures. It also will help you chew more thoroghly.
So try these steps your next meal and see if it helps you savor the flavor of your foods. I'm sure there are other techniques to try so please share them in the comments!