Tips: Getting the Most Out of Your Meals

Articles
October 06, 2011

Tips: Getting the Most Out of Your Meals

Looking to improve digestion, cut your portion size, have more energy or just enjoy your food more? Read on to find out how

Looking to improve digestion, cut your portion size or just enjoy your food more? Well then follow these simple tips for more energy and enjoyment from your meals.

Chew your food!
Chewing food thoroughly ensures that the food will eventually be digested fully and more easily assimilated in the body. The mouth is the first part of your digestive system and chewing triggers the release of enzymes that help break down food, as well as slowing you down if you concentrate on chewing food thoroughly. Eating this way gives your body enough time to register when you’re full – so most likely you won't overeat and maybe even eat less.

Don’t skip breakfast!
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day and studies have demonstrated that people who eat breakfast generally weigh less, and are less prone to cravings later in the day than those who don’t eat breakfast. Breakfast is the time to jump-start your metabolism - so make sure to start off the day right. Protein rich meals including eggs, nut butters and whole grains are a great way to start the day.

Remove distractions.
Eat in peace, remove all distractions including turning off the TV, phone, computer, books, bills, etc. Focusing on your food helps get the digestive system ready for food, helps to let you know when your full, and you’re more likely to make better choices about what you eat.

Try not to eat when stressed or rushed.
When we are stressed or rushed the last thing our bodies are thinking about is digestion. During this time, stress hormones are released signaling to our bodies to get going, therefore protecting us from threats – the fight or flight response – If we eat when feeling this way, our body will struggle to digest and absorb nutrients from food - as all of the energy is focused on the stress. If you must eat when stressed, stick to easy to digest soups or smoothies. Ideally you should plan eating occasions ahead of time so that you have the time to sit, undistracted and eat.

To the same tune as chewing well and focusing on your food, you need to cut larger pieces of food into smaller bites. We tend to perceive cut up food as a larger portion than the same amount before it is cut up. A recent study found those who sliced their food consumed on average 20 percent fewer calories than those eating the same foods left whole.

Careful how you cook!
Try not to overcook foods as this can reduce the nutrients in your meal. The best ways to cook? Steam, bake, blanch or lightly sauté vegetables and gently grill or bake meat or fish.

Don’t forget to hydrate!
Not drinking enough water can signal hunger to the brain (when we're not really hungry) and being hydrated helps with every function in the body, including digestion. It is important to drink plenty of water at least 15 minutes before meals and wait the same amount of time after meals, as not to impair the digestive enzymes. Not drinking during meals can help cut back on indigestion, gas and bloating. But remember to chew well!

Try these tips for better digestion and a more pleasurable eating experience, and hey, you may even notice you’re eating less and loosing inches off your waist!