As our lives get busier, our time for nourishing meals with others gets smaller.
Do you ever skip lunch for a work call or try to push out another email out before making time to eat? Later you’re starving and grab something on the go, inhaling it in transit, not even conscious of the fact you just ate. When our days become jam packed and we try to squeeze it all in, we make less time to eat with others because our schedules just don’t line up.
Even if we are in relationships our glorification of busy can result in us dining solo as the number of people eating alone rises every year. During my corporate years, the highlight of my day was ordering food on my way home from work so it would get there when I arrived. I got into my sweatpants, ate and caught up on work emails. Since I was in a long distance relationship, I had most of my meals alone and I became comfortably numb in a routine of unconscious eating. Today, my life looks a lot different and eating by myself is an enjoyable self-care practice instead of a hot mess.So why can eating alone be harmful?
When we’re too busy to cook, we’re likely to grab something to go and eat quickly. We have little knowledge of how much salt was used or how fresh the ingredients were. We scroll through our news feed, read emails, watch tv and before we know it, we’ve scoffed down the entire meal. Rushed meals often mean we aren’t chewing or digesting properly so we get bloated and uncomfortable after our meals.
Eating alone also leaves more space for thoughts to creep in about the things that didn’t go right during the day like; that email from a client or snarky text from a friend. When we eat while upset, we consume those feelings of guilt, remorse, and anger resulting in digestive stress.
So now you’re thinking, I see, but chances are I’m still going to have a lot of my meals alone. How could I improve this? Here are my tips to break out of these eating funks and enjoy nourishing meals by yourself and with others.
5 Healthy tips for solo eaters:
1. Make eating sacred.
The act of eating is in itself, is a beautiful time to connect with our food and our bodies. Create a sacred space around mealtime by choosing beautiful, colorful food, putting on soothing music or lighting a candle and coming into the moment. Eating alone can be just as, or more enjoyable than eating with others when we make it a practice of self-care.
2. Breathe and practice mindful eating.
As we bring our attention into the moment, deep breaths help us slow down. Notice your emotions and feelings before shoveling in the goods. Check in with yourself. How hungry are you? See, smell, touch, taste, chew, breathe and be silent. Being mindful of your food will heighten the value of your eating experience.
3. Get in the kitchen.
When you cook for yourself you’re almost guaranteed to up the nutritional value of your food. Restaurant food is more processed, less fresh, and often over seasoned. Remember you are worth it and when we put our own energy into the food, we ultimately put that energy back into ourselves.
4. Cook once, eat twice.
Spend less time in the kitchen by cooking once, eating twice. Add some fresh veggies to your leftovers giving old food new energy. Cooking once, eating two or three times make you feel like your investments of money on groceries and time in the kitchen were well worth it.
5. Host potlucks.
They’re a great way to dine in company without expensive costs and a lot of prep time. You only have to prepare one dish diminishing the cooking time while building community. Sharing communal meals helps you eat slower, digest better and eat happier.
Do you often eat alone? What are your tips for enjoying solo meal time?
Originally posted on BestKeptSelf.