Man eating food quickly

Your Health, Nutrition and Fitness | 5 years ago

Are You Eating Too Fast? Slow Down Mealtime

Eating quickly may not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to weight gain and even heart problems. Learn how you can slow down and enjoy your meal.

Slow down! When it comes to breakfast, lunch and dinner, you want to be the tortoise not the hare. Eating fast may be a part of your lifestyle today, but slower eaters are less likely to become obese and less likely to develop metabolic syndrome – a combination of disorders that increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Whether you’re eating at your desk, in the car, or at a fast-food restaurant, always think about how you eat in a sit-down restaurant. Your meal should take about 20 to 30 minutes. If you’re gobbling up your food in 5 to 10 minutes, you’re likely to experience indigestion and risk overeating. While you don’t need to chew each bite 50 times, try taking a breath or putting down your utensil between bites to help slow your eating down even more.  

If your eating style is closer to a competitive eater than your great-grandmother, here are a few tips to try at your next meal to slow things down:

  • Manage your environment at mealtime. This means being selective about where and what you eat. Both your environment and the amount of food available can play a role in how much and how fast you eat.
  • Try to add conversation when it’s time to eat. Instead of eating alone, invite a friend or coworker to eat with you. Just make sure to eat with someone you enjoy talking to. This will help you avoid stressful conversation.
  • Use utensils. While this may seem ridiculous in some instances, it helps you slow down between bites and control the size of each bite. You’re more likely to finish a sandwich or burger in a few bites when eating with your hands rather than a knife and fork.
  • Find a relaxing place to eat. Sitting outside on a bench or in a museum can provide visual stimulants. These stimulants will help distract you from eating your food so fast.
  • Enjoy your food. Taking the time to prepare something you enjoy can help prevent you from just shoveling down breakfast or lunch.
  • Turn off your phone and computer. Avoid emails and text messages that may tempt you to scarf down the rest of that sandwich to respond.
  • Pack a snack. Don’t let yourself get too hungry during the day. You’re more likely to eat fast, and eat more, when you’re unusually hungry. A small healthy snack in between meals is a great way to avoid getting hangry (hungry + angry) and overeating.
  • Wait 10 minutes before you eat a dessert. It’s not uncommon to crave something sweet after you eat a meal, but give your body a few minutes to digest before you order that sugary treat. If you still want it, you can make dessert your afternoon snack instead of part of your lunch.