Before You Wolf Down Your Lunch, Consider This


woman eatingPeel back yogurt lid, lick lid, throw away lid, eat yogurt, throw away container. This morning it took me approximately 90 seconds to eat my breakfast, which isn't necessarily a good thing. I thought I was saving time, and money, by eating breakfast at my desk, but as it turns out, we're spending less and less time eating yet still managing to consume more and more calories.

A new study found that Brits are scarfing down their three meals a day in less than 40 total minutes. The average is 7 minutes for breakfast, 13 minutes for lunch, and 19 minutes for dinner -- a similar study done back in 2006 found that Americans spend about 67 minutes a day on our three squares.

Even though we're eating slower than those across the pond, we still need to take 'er easy when it comes to wolfing down our meals.

Guess Grandma was right to yell at me to slow down. But you know what? Sometimes I have to move fast and eat faster. Most meals are purely functional for me -- I try to stuff some mildly healthy grub down my throat at breakfast and lunch so I can keep working. Dinner, if I'm alone, doesn't take long either. I'll eat on the porch or on my couch, the meal maybe taking up 15 or 20 minutes.

They say the trouble is that we're not appreciating our food, that we're hardly noticing it, and that eating fast isn't great for our bodies or our minds. While I totally agree, I can't seem to find a solution. If I take time for lunch, I'll have to stay later at work to finish all my projects. And if I stay late, I lose part of my night. So I'd rather eat fast than lose time ... but isn't free time important to our health, too?

I don't know what's healthier here: pausing for lunch and staying late, or eating fast and enjoying the maximum amount of free time. Sigh.

Being present for meals is something I'll try to work on, but I don't think I'll necessarily be slowing down. It's bad for me, I get it, but I got to go with the lesser of two evils here. In our hectic lifestyles, it's hard to do everything right, but I suppose I'll give conscious eating a try. It'd make my grandmother happy.

And if you're reading this while eating, take a second to think about your food, then carry on. Lunch time!

Do you eat too fast? How many minutes do you spend eating your meals each day?

Photo via fergie_lancealot/Flickr

bad habits, eating healthy


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buffa... buffalove23

Honesty, I spend maybe five minutes on breakfast, ten on lunch and if were at home, ten minutes on dinner. I also eat small portions but I've always been a fast eater, thanks to twenty minutes to get lunch and eat in elementary school.

Caden... CadensMommy813

YES!! I eat way too fast. With a almost 4 year old and a 10 month old I feel like I hardly have anytime to eat. My 4 year old isn't too much the reason I rush, it's my baby. She seems to always need something, so I always find myself rushing to just take care of them! And I have gotten into the habit of eating fast, that even when I don't have to, I do. I try my hardest to eat healthy, but rushing to eat is not good, but I just don't have anytime to sit down and enjoy my food.

Kediset Kediset

I definitely eat too fast... just wanna get back to my fun sooner. not sure why my dad eats even faster as if it's some kind of competition.. once I had like a 5 min head start and he still finished before me and once he had a huge plate of food compared to me and mom's and was done when we were about halfway through ours. Yeesh.. what's HIS hurry? not that I should be talking :p

UneVi... UneVieChic

My grandmama always said to chew each bite at least 15 times.  After getting married, when my husband and I were establishing longer meal times, we both agreed it'd be best to just chew each bite until you gelt there wasn't any more chewing to be done.  Better for digestion that way.

I don't buy the "not enough time, have to eat at my desk excuse." My husband doesn't get a lunch, has to eat at his desk, but still does it in courses, taking his sweet ass time over the course of an hour or two.

nonmember avatar Sam

"Even though we're eating slower than those across the pond..." Um, ever consider that Americans are not actually eating slower, but that on average they just consume LARGER MEALS? lol.

Breakfast for most people in the UK is maybe cereal or toast. Occasionally it may be both, or a cooked breakfast, but not usually, for most people. Americans by contrast seem to more often have a cooked meal for breakfast, or a larger meal (toast *and* cereal, and fruit and yoghurt...... or *breakfast pizza* anyone?).

I'm not saying it's true of all Americans, but given the US has a higher percentage of obesity than in the UK, it stands to reason that you guys are not eating slower, you are simply eating more, which takes more time, even if you eat at the same speed (or quicker).

That said I think we'd all benefit from eating slower and taking more time over our food (for one thing, the more you chew the more it aids digestion, also, the slower you eat the less you need before feeling full. Eating slower and chewing more is a weight loss tip. It is even suggested to put your cutlery or sandwich down between mouthfuls, to slow it down.)

nonmember avatar Sam

I dont really get the excuse of being too busy to eat at a sensible speed either.
Say you have a sandwich, you can take a bite, put it down, do typing or writing or read something *whilst chewing*, so I don't think it would make a big impact on your work day. Unless you had a job that required you to break for lunch (like if you operated machinery or worked in the public sector - nurse, teacher, police officer etc. In wi=hich case you ought to take at least a 15 minute break anyway, for health & safety's sake.)

There is no excuse to rush dinner... but I do when it tastes yummy. Haha. Maybe I should try slowing down, but the better it tastes the quicker I eat?! LOL.

Julie Dearie

I have a 1 year old, a 3 year old, and a 7 year old- and a husband who works 50 hours a week with a 2 hour daily commute. If I even manage to eat more than once a day, it is while tending to my 3 kids (particularly the 1 year old). If I don't eat fast, I don't eat! :-p

sweet... sweettigeress

I'm not going to waste 30 or more minutes eating. No thank you. I take a bite, chew swallow and repeat. 

Julia Kantorik

I read somewhere it takes nearly twenty minutes for your stomach to tell your brain when it is full.  Which is why eating slowly is so much more beneficial.  It gives you the time to process the food so that you aren't eating more than you need to.  So many people grab a quick combo meal at a fast food resaraunt, wolf it down and twenty minutes later it feels like they have eaten way too much.  Because they have.  At fast food, a small sandwich will do you just fine, but because our tummies still say we are hungry, we keep eating until we finish that huge amount of food.  Do you remember your teacher telling you that your stomach is roughly the size of your fist?  That's because it is.  It's also why we are supposed to eat six smaller meals throughout the day rather than three bigger meals.  It keeps our energy and metabolism up :) Snack healthy, women, we can handle this new age of processed and refined food that is so bad for us all around.  Just stay conscious of what your body is telling you.  A cup of fruit inbetween sandwiches is a really good way to go so long as it is spread out over about four or five hours ;)

tangl... tangleballlover

I'm a slow eater,  so I guess this doesn't apply to me. I love to savor my food!

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