by Bryn Mooth (guest writer)
The term ‘fast food’ has less to do with the drive-through window and more to do with our approach to eating. We eat in our cars, at our desks, in front of the TV. We often eat food that someone else cooked and packaged and shipped and sold.
We need to adopt a slow food mindset. Here’s how:
If you’re concerned about sodium or sugar or carbs or whatever, don’t just throw up your hands. What we eat, where we eat and how we eat are all 100% under our control. We can grab take-out and call it dinner. Or, we can dedicate an hour of the day to cook and enjoy a meal with our families. We can spend a few minutes in the morning to eat a quality breakfast. Eating sensibly doesn’t take much time or money, but it does require you to make a conscious decision to do so.
While some folks say food is fuel, it truly is more than that. It’s a product of the earth, a valuable natural resource. Prepared with care and love, food is community and family. So give food the respect it’s due. Take time when you’re eating. Savor the flavor and experience the texture. Eat without distraction from the TV or your computer. Pay attention to what you eat, and you’ll enjoy it more and, most likely, gobble down less of it.
Take cues from the Slow Food movement.
Slow Food is working to overcome its reputation as group for foodies who drool over heirloom tomatoes and rare turkeys. It advocates for “food that is good for [us], good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.”
Shop your farmers’ market.
Local farms provide the ultimate in fresh and seasonal goods, and it’s not as pricey as some think. Price comparison studies conducted through Seattle University and an association of organic farmers in Vermont both found that farmers’ market produce was less expensive in many categories than both organic and conventional produce sold in grocery stores (eggs being one notable exception, because small farmers have higher production costs than large poultry producers). Even better, local produce travels just a short distance from farm to market.
Eat “The Plate.”
The USDA’s updated version of the old food pyramid shows a dinner plate graphic that’s half full of fruits and vegetables. www.choosemyplate.gov Perhaps the most powerful recommendation: Enjoy your food, but eat less.
Bring your lunch.
Lunch is the biggest calorie culprit when it comes to eating out. Brown-bag your lunch, and you’ll save more than 150 calories and about $6 per day. Try bringing lunch from home at least three days per week.
Gather your family for dinner.
The great news is that American families are getting better at getting together. According to a report released in November 2010 by the American Dietetic Association, 73% of families surveyed eat together every day, up from 52% in 2003. Studies published by Harvard University and the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine have shown a meaningful correlation between family meals and kids’ mental and physical well-being.
Bryn Mooth is an independent journalist and copywriter focused on food and wellness. She shares recipes and kitchen wisdom on her website www.writes4food.com.