National Nutrition Month is officially underway and I love the slogan this year! The slogan is, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”
What does “savor the flavor” mean to you? To me it means that no matter what I am consuming I take time to enjoy it. It doesn’t mean that every bite of food eaten is uber healthy or that I must jump on the next diet bandwagon. Any food can fit and be savored.
The beauty of taking time to enjoy a meal or snack is that it allows you to not only taste each flavor, but also check in with yourself. Are you even still hungry after that last bite? When we rush through our mealtimes we are often left overfull and not completely satisfied.
Eating right is the other part of the slogan. What does eating right mean to you? I am not a fan of putting food into good versus bad categories. That’s giving food human characteristics when food doesn’t really need to have that much weight over an individual. After all, food is energy and not something that should make a person feel rebellious or mighty when consumed. Eating right is highly individualized. Eating right is eating right for YOU. After 31 years of living (and eating), I know what foods make me feel energized, appeal to my taste buds, and sustain me. I choose more of these foods. I also know what foods don’t appeal to me taste-wise or drown my energy minutes after consumption. I choose less of these foods. It really can be that simple, but only if one hasn’t been “checking out” during meals and snacks the past few years.
Hopefully most of you know how to savor the flavor of eating right, but in case you need a little refresher or are one of those that has been “checking out” during meals, below are a few tips to get you back on track:
- Practice the art of savoring. Choose a food item like a raisin, a Hershey’s Kiss, a grape, or any other that appeals to you. Channel each of your senses before taking the first bite. Take a mental note of the way it looks, feels, and smells. Place it in your mouth without chewing or swallowing. Take note of how it tastes or feels in your mouth. Only when you are ready do you take that first bite slowly. Again make note of the taste and whether or not you actually liked the flavor of the food consumed.
- Make meals last. Find ways to slow down at meal times, especially the last meal of the day. Make it a point to sit down with family or friends at least a few times per week if you don’t already. Spend time conversing with one another and enjoying each other’s company. Try new recipes or have everyone in charge of a dish.
- Figure out what eating right is to you. Keep a food diary one week. You don’t have to write out the calories and fat grams of each food. Instead, keep track of the food consumed, time of day, and how you felt afterwards. This will get you in touch with the foods that make you feel energized and show you which foods do the opposite. You may also see trends in your eating that can easily be solved. For example, if you notice a 5 hour window of not eating and the next snack or meal you grab is a mixture of candy, chips, and soda you can determine that the problem is not the food chosen. That would be the symptom. The problem is the 5 hour gap of not having anything. Try having a wholesome snack in the middle of that 5 hour window and see if it naturally changes what you crave later in the day.
Happy National Nutrition Month, everyone!