This week's challenge is to spend 20 minutes or more eating each main meal. I think the concept behind the challenge is spot-on, and in the last 6 months or so I've really made an effort to slow down and enjoy my food.
I realize if I'm to earn points for my team with this week's challenge, I'm going to need to time my meals more carefully. I have a very bad habit of waiting too long between meals. I don't eat breakfast within an hour of getting up and if 5 hours or less pass between the meals that's good. Sometimes I will have a snack, but that's not a common occurrence. My husband's work schedule is very erratic, so every day is different. I have fibromyalgia and sometimes (well, often times) the pain interferes with my sleep, so I have no regular bedtime/wake time schedule.
I obviously have a lot of work to do with scheduling! I weigh/measure and track everything I eat and drink, so I've got that habit down pat. Because I'm diabetic I really need to do better with scheduling meal times! I've been doing quite well with exercise and weight loss, so I can continue those good habits.
Today I managed to spend 20 minutes eating breakfast; not easy considering it was 1/2 of a smoothie I made (I'll have the remainder as a snack), one slice of toast and coffee. I am alone for probably 90% of my meals, and I find eating alone boring so I read or watch tv (I know, I know...not good!). I've been making progress with being more aware of the texture/taste/aromas and really being "present" while I eat. I also put my fork or spoon down between bites, and sip water so that helps.
A major problem I have is with eating foods that are supposed to remain hot during the meal. If I take 20 minutes to eat one scrambled egg, you know that egg is going to be stone cold well before the 20 minutes is up. Perhaps this week I need to stick with cold breakfast choices! Ditto for lunch.
I think I've come up with a good solution that will work for lunch and dinner: SALAD. A nice big tossed salad (with minimal dressing) can easily take 10 minutes or more to eat, and if eaten before the dinner entree stretches the meal to 20 plus minutes. If the entree is salad, with protein in it, then the 20 minute meal is no problem. Just keep all the veggies really crunchy! And, be sure to thoroughly chew your food! Remember that digestion begins in your mouth with your saliva (a handy little fact I recently learned). Here's a link to an interesting article: kidshealth.org/PageManag
For breakfast, eating some sort of fresh fruit that requires time to eat it (i.e. grapefruit, unpeeled apple slices, usually some fresh in-season fruit) helps stretch out the meal. Eat the fruit before you pour the milk on your cereal so you're not eating soggy flakes (unless you LIKE soggy cereal). Overnight oatmeal is really yummy and can be eaten cold...plus it does require chewing.
Bottom line, I think the trick to this challenge is to take a good look at the meal components, and add in some healthy crunch! Suddenly, this challenge doesn't look as difficult!