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01.17.2005

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how to eat better
by Yee-Fan Sun |
1 2
continued from page 1

2 Cut the crap. Now when I say crap, I'm not talking about junk food, exactly. No, what I'm talking about is the sort of food that you find yourself nibbling on when you're starving, and there's nothing else in the house to eat, and you're not particularly paying attention to the taste (because if you did, you'd have to admit it wasn't all that good). That bag of flavorless potato chips that you bought on sale, the cheap, too-sweet milk chocolates that your great-aunt sent you for Christmas, the microwave pizza that's sitting in your freezer -- these are not good foods, folks, in any sense of the phrase. They don't taste good, and they're certainly not good for you. So why are you still keeping them around in the house?

3 Get over the (food) guilt. On the other hand, there are plenty of foods out there that taste close-your-eyes-and-swoon heavenly, but are fatty or carb-o-riffic or chock full o' sugar sweet. A luscious bar of super-dark, Belgian chocolate, a tub of Ben & Jerry's creamy Pistachio, real mashed potatoes whipped with heavy cream, a plate of homemade egg pasta with authentic hot Italian sausages and served with crusty, buttery bread, crispy-juicy Southern fried chicken. These foods do not really fit into any nutritionist's idea of a healthy diet, and yes, eating them all the time will make you fat, or increase your risk of dropping dead of a heart attack, or otherwise throw your body out of whack. But having them from time to time will not, generally speaking, kill you. So when you're indulging, let yourself really enjoy the foods, and forget about how "bad" the fat/sugar/carbs might be for your idea of a good diet. Of course, the flip side of appeasing these cravings -- and the one I have to confess is the hardest for me to live by -- is that you really have to listen to all of your body's messages. Food is not some precious bounty to be hoarded whenever it comes your way. When you're feeling full, no food really tastes all that good anymore, so quit stuffing your face.

4 Slow down. A meal is not some pesky chore; quit racing through it like it's getting in the way of the rest of your life. So no more shoveling your food down without a thought as to how it tastes or how you feel. Take the time to actually chew your food, take a breath between bites, let your brain process all those delicious flavors.

5 Share your food. There's nothing wrong with eating alone, but let's face it: mealtimes are a whole lot more fun when you're enjoying them in good company. Institute a roommate dinner ritual; if you live alone, invite your other single pals over for a shared meal at least once a week. Even if you're shacked up with your sweets, and always have your meals together, make the effort to have a few other friends over for supper on a regular basis. Shared meals are about way more than fulfilling energy requirements and nutrient needs; they're about good conversation and connecting with the other folks in your life, and they nourish so much more than just your hungry belly.

6 Sit down for a real meal. Yes, I too have been known to eat in front of the TV from time to time (okay, often). But in addition to the logistical difficulties of attempting to eat spaghetti from a plate that's balanced on your lap, without slopping sauce all over yourself and your couch, watching your favorite guilty pleasure reality-tv show while supping means that you're really not giving much notice to how your food tastes. And that's a damn shame, because good food can be one of life's great pleasures, if you only pay a little attention. So clear off the dining table, set out the plates and the flatware, get yourselves some napkins, turn on the music for a little ambience. Learn to program your VCR or get yourself TiVo if you must, but seriously, "The Apprentice" can wait. Sit down at the dining table, and enjoy your meal.

o 

check out these related articles: 
how to cook more | the myth of the bad cook | cooking without cookbooks

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