What Are Your Eating Habits?

Renee Paden Head ShotOn Mother’s Day, I was thinking about my mother and my grandmother, Estelle.  I thought about how they both are great examples of eating habits, one good and one not so good.

My grandmother kept a stable weight, because she had excellent eating habits and kept a pretty strict routine.  You probably could tell time by what she was doing.  She woke up at the same time, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time, and went to bed at the same time.  She had her rituals of watching her daily soap opera, General Hospital, at 2pm and reading and listening to soothing music before bed.  She cooked every day and lived to be 93 years old.

My mother always speaks of my grandmother being a farmer.  She grew up in Davenport, Iowa, and had lots of farm experience.  She brought it with her when she moved to Evanston, Illinois.  That is probably why I have an affinity for the farm.

When I took a farm class at Quillisascut Farm  in Rice, Washington in 2008, I found it to be one of my favorite experiences.  There is nothing like being in touch with the earth!  Here is a picture of some of us digging potatoes, one of my many favorite experiences there.  I’m in the middle, digging up the last of my stash.

Renee digging potatoes at Quillisascut Farm

Speaking of food, let’s go to Food Stuff for a dozen good eating habits to consider.

Food Stuff

1.  Eat at the table with family and friends, rather than eating in front of the television.  This way you will be more aware of how fast you are eating and possibly prevent indigestion.  This is also a great opportunity for you to catch up on important matters.  Keep the conversation light and happy.  Serious matters can be handled after a meal when food has had some time to digest.  Anger is not a good emotion to have when eating.  If there is a sports event or a long drama you want to watch during your normal meal time, eat beforehand and/or have snacks during the intermission.  Depending on the time, a late supper might be the best option.

2.  Sit up straight when you eat.  Your mother had a point.  Gravity is your friend.

3.  Do not talk with your mouth full.  Why?  You should be focused on one task at a time.  When there is food in your mouth, the task is to chew.  Use your time between bites to talk.

4.  Eat slowly and chew your food.  Try chewing 30 times for each bite.  It takes 20 minutes for your body to know you are full.  If you inhale your entire meal in 15 minutes or less, you will not feel full until after you’ve had way too much food.  Indigestion and acid reflux may occur.  Eat just enough to be satisfied.  Don’t eat so much.

5.  Speaking of chewing, make sure you take care of the utensils in your mouth.  Keep your teeth brushed, flossed and in working condition.  If your dentures or partials, don’t fit properly, get them fixed.  Your pearly whites are extremely valuable to your health.

6.  Stay in balance.  If you eat something that is high in fat and calories, balance it out with something low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins and minerals.  Always keep a rainbow in mind.  If you didn’t eat many colors for lunch, prepare a colorful dinner.  The best way to stay in balance is to plan your meals in advance.

7.  Eat at regular times every day.  Make sure you eat a hearty breakfast with protein and some fat.  This will keep you from suffering from extreme hunger and overeating during the day.  Breakfast is especially important, because you have not eaten for a significant number of hours during sleep.  (We hope.)  Like a car that needs gas, your body is looking for calories to replenish it and keep it running.

8.  Do not skip meals.  If you do not get a chance to sit down and eat a full meal, or your previous meal was a little more abundant than usual, then have a snack instead—a piece of fruit, a handful of nuts and seeds or a small salad.

9.  Do not eat less than two hours before bedtime.  Your body needs time to digest all the food and distribute all the calories.  If you go to bed too soon after you’ve eaten, your digestive system is still in the early stages of processing your food.  Then you can suffer from heartburn or acid reflux.  When you sleep, energy goes back to the cells to rejuvenate, but if you eat close to sleeping time, your digestive organs need the energy to process food.  Therefore, there is not enough energy available for cell rejuvenation.  Over time, if you continue this bad eating habit, this results in fatigue and your body’s inability to repair.

10.  Try to eat your heaviest meal in the middle of the day when your body’s engine is running at a higher pace.  If you are going to eat a heavy dinner, try to make it an early dinner.  Then take a walk after dessert.

11.  Yes, dessert is fine.  It is often another signal, although a psychological one, that the meal is over.  Just make sure you make it small and tasty.  Dessert is a great opportunity for sharing.

12.  Eating outside with nature, without technology, can be the most rejuvenating experience.  It slows everything down and can be very calming.  I actually once ate outside at the beach with a lot of bees.  I was not thrilled with bees at first, but then decided to see what they wanted with my plate of food.  Each bee landed on my plate to pick up a crumb of cake and then flew away.  See!  Dessert is a great opportunity for sharing!

Can you think of another good eating habit?  Share it with us…like dessert!

In Good Food We Trust,



The views and opinions in this blog do not necessarily represent those of the SouthSoundCommunityGuide. We do however value your opinion.

Renee Paden About Renee Paden

Renée graduated with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2010, after over 20 years in the IT corporate world. Her first nutrition teacher was her grandmother, who showed her how to prepare a balanced plate. Renée spent hours in the kitchen with her grandmother, learning the importance of our relationship with food. She wants everyone to understand how urgent it is for our families to appreciate real food. Our lives depend on it, literally.

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