We get busy. Rush, rush, rush! And we speed through dinner preparation with hungry kids. So naturally, when we all sit down to eat, the racing pace continues. I know I’m not the only mom that has spent an hour to produce a delicious dinner that gets wolfed down in 10 minutes!
Now you may think I am exaggerating, but if you put on your kitchen timer when you serve dinner, you’ll find out I am probably on target. I didn’t really believe it myself, and the first meal I forgot that I’d set the timer. It rang and surprised me while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and everyone had long scattered from the dinner table.
Did you know it takes your brain 20 minutes to register that you’ve had enough food? Twenty minutes before you actually register satisfaction and want to stop eating. If you rush through your dinner, eating as fast as you’ve lived your day, you can pack away twice the volume of food before your 20 minutes blood sugar memo ever hits your brain and says “stop!”
One of the explanations of why South America women are slim, in spite of a less than ideal diet, is that their culture defines mealtime as a time to visit, chat, relax, sit back and relish a break in the day. When we were in Chile, I enjoyed watching the people eat. They came into a restaurant and looked like they were planning to spend the afternoon. There was no rushing, no urgency to get through and get out. They were just hanging out, getting something to drink or a snack. They talked and visited—maybe later they’d order food. They would stand, greet and embrace anyone who joined their party. Getting the food down was not the main event.
Eat slowly to eat less. It’s relaxing. It’s a nice change from a hectic lifestyle. It allows the day’s tension to melt off. It lets you really enjoy and taste the food. It gives you a chance to talk and discuss things with each other. It puts us more in tune with children, whose natural pace is not hurry, hurry.
Twenty minutes to savor and enjoy and take a break. I like it.