The Meal Habit
By Cristina Sutter, SportMedBC RunWalk Dietitian
Are your mealtimes pleasant and enjoyable? Do you have regular meals or do you sometimes miss meals? Do you sit down at the table to eat or do you eat on the go? Do you eat with your family or companion or is the TV your dinner date? Believe it or not, these aspects of mealtime structure are strong predictors of good nutrition and a healthy weight.
Admittedly, preparing regular meals is a lot of work: Buying groceries, stocking the fridge, planning meals, cooking food that you and your family enjoy, and to orchestrate our meals around our schedules. It’s a labour of love. I think we have to love ourselves and the food to go through all the effort!
Sometimes nutrition messages create too many rules about what we should and should not eat – Must be organic, must be cooked from scratch, must not have fat, must have omega 3, must be low in salt, must not have sugar or gluten, must not have preservatives, etc. We can become overwhelmed by the “food police” rules, so we give up on making meals altogether. The truth is that all foods can fit in your diet in a way that nourishes you.
If you do not sit down to regular meals, start there. Creating regular meals that happen around the same time every day and including foods that you enjoy is the first step towards healthy eating. If we make our meals a priority, our nutrition will improve as a result. Don’t let a busy schedule prevent you from sitting down to nourishing meals.
- Have breakfast, lunch and dinner at regular times each day.
- Plan at least 2 snacks each day.
- Eat at a table with your family or companion.
- Unplug the TV, cell phones and computers.
- Connect with your family or companion.
- Enjoy your food.
Cristina Sutter is a Private Practice Sport Dietitian at Optimal Performance Clinic in Vancouver. For more information, visit cristinasutter.ca.