Why Grazing is a Healthy Way to Eat
Three big meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Where did this model of eating come from? The three-square-meal model, in addition to added snacks and dessert after dinner, is the norm in many households as well as schools. But is it a healthy way to eat?
My French Experience
During my Junior year at college I studied in the glorious alps in France and lived with a host mother who served breakfast and dinner. I ate lunch on campus, which marked the start of my love affair with the plain croissant, and I started noticing how the French ate differently. It wasn’t the foods they chose to eat that struck me, as they ate plenty of meat, vegetables, cheeses and the occasional sweet, rather the way in which they ate was curiously different than the daily three-square-meal model I was used to. The French I encountered ate very slowly, especially at dinner, which was usually a social meal that often lasted two hours. Each bite was enjoyed and savored.
Another major difference I observed was that the French did not eat outside of the home besides in restaurants and cafes. Food was not allowed on buses and was not sold at the local theater, swimming area, or ice skating rink. Meals were meant to be enjoyed at home or in a restaurant. This was a stark contrast to the life I was accustomed to back home in the States where people were constantly eating either on the go, in their cars, in public transportation or in front of the computer or TV. And oftentimes, people shoveled in food so fast that there was no time to relax and enjoy the experience of eating, let alone time to digest!
Change Your Eating Experience
Even if you don’t live in France, there are ways you can adopt a healthy way to eat and make better choices for optimal health every day. Instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner with added snacks, Dr. Sears believes in the “grazing” method of dining: eating small meals throughout the day. Grazing gives your body a chance to digest completely while also helping you feel full and satiated longer. Not only that, it also keeps sugar cravings at bay while boosting metabolism. This is a great strategy for working adults, busy moms, and even picky toddlers!
Here are some healthy grazing ideas that Dr. Sears recommends that are appealing to all ages:
- avocado slices
- sliced bananas, oranges, grapes, carrots or broccoli
- cheese squares
- canoe eggs (hard-boiled eggs cut lengthwise in wedges)
- moons (peeled apple slices, thinly spread with peanut butter)
As you adopt Dr. Sears’ grazing method, allow yourself to relax, enjoy and digest your meal. Don’t rush mealtime! Prepare a healthy, nutritious meal and take time to eat it. Put down the technology and use mealtime as social time, as a way to connect with friends and family and, as an added benefit, you will also avoid overeating! Adopting Dr. Sears’ Grazing method will help you beat the 3 p.m. sugar crash and feel satisfied throughout the day. Give it a try and see how it makes you feel!
Molly Ritvo is Certified Health Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. She works with clients of all ages in person and via phone and offers wellness workshops in and around the Burlington, VT area. You can learn more about Molly and the various services she offers on her website mollyritvo.com.