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Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

Posted: March 14, 2016

National Nutrition Month is an educational campaign conducted every year in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

This year’s theme for the campaign is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.” This serves as a reminder to take time to enjoy food traditions, social experiences with food, and to savor great but nutritious flavors.

Erin Garvey, Penn State Extension Community Health Intern, suggests one way to savor the flavor is to practice mindful eating. Mindful eating means to remove outside distractions and enjoy food with all of the senses. When we eat mindfully, we pay attention to the process of eating and create a growing awareness of what our body is telling us when we eat.

In contrast to mindful eating, mindless eating means to eat while unfocused. Research shows that eating while doing other activities like watching television or working on a computer increases one’s risk of gaining excess weight. Eating while distracted also devalues the act of eating and how we are supposed to nourish our bodies. Mindless eating practices include eating until you are completely stuffed, thinking you are hungry although you are not, and eating while distracted or because it is “mealtime.”

Miss Garvey provides the following helpful tips to reconnect with our diets and eat mindfully.

  • Be sure to eat only when you feel hungry, but do not wait until you are famished or “starved” to start eating because this will cause you to overindulge.
  • Take small bites and put utensils down every once in a while to ensure you are not eating too quickly. It takes 15-20 minutes for signals of fullness to occur.
  • Create an appealing environment for your meal. Set up a nice table setting or put on some enjoyable music to create a nice focused atmosphere.
  • Avoid distractions while eating. Shift the main focus to food.
  • Enjoy the smells, colors, and textures of food. Do this while preparing, cooking, and eating to experiment with a variety of fresh ingredients.
  • Think quality not quantity when it comes to food choices. Some people buy unhealthy food just because it is less expensive, but don’t be afraid to indulge in fresh high quality ingredients.
  • Consider shopping at local farmers’ markets. They provide excellent opportunities to buy wonderful fruits, vegetables, and other products from the people who actually produce them.

Miss Garvey concludes that eating mindfully is extremely beneficial to our health and lifestyle. How we eat is just as important to our health as what we eat. Taking the time look at, smell, taste, feel, and ultimately get the most out of what we are eating will help us recognize healthy food choices. We will begin to appreciate and value our food choices and hopefully learn more about ourselves in the process.

Contact Information

Karen Thomas
  • Extension Educator, Food, Families & Health
Email:
Phone: 570-963-6842