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Summer Break 2011 – Eating Smart!

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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

Come summer break and we are off holidaying, leaving behind routines. Picture a vacation to the relatives or a holiday destination and we can imagine ourselves with a tall glass of something cold and sweet. This is usually accompanied by careless eating through some meals of the day - which means stepping up on fried foods and ice cream while out in the sun. Agreed, we need to relax and let go during vacations, but a little smart eating could see us through the holidays without sacrificing too much on the plate.

1. Slow down as you eat: It is believed that the body could take as much as 20 minutes to give accurate hunger satiation signals in healthy people. Stretch receptors of the stomach are activated and in turn, pass the ‘filling’ message to the brain through the vagus nerve which connects the gut to the brainstem. Apart from this, hormonal signals, too, are released when partially digested food enters our small intestine. (Source: Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School; Article Title: Why Eating Slow May Help You Feel Full Faster; Author: Ann MacDonald, Editor, Harvard Mental Health Letter; Date: 19th October, 2010; URL: http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605 ). So, if you keep your eating pace slow or moderate, it is likely that you receive satiation signals from your brain at the time you begin to fill. Fast pace could result in eating when you are full without being aware of it.

2. Fiber Can Be Refreshing: Dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble) may be found in fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts etc. You might want to serve yourself fiber foods first in your meal. Once you are past these fiber foods you could be less likely to pick on sweet treats later. This would make chicken salads or feta cheese-based Greek salad a great beginning for lunch. If you are still craving something sweet, you could go for an apple, watermelon, or a banana, all of which also contain healthy fiber. You can refer to the fiber content covering half-a-serving of different foods by visiting the pages of USDA’s website containing National Nutrient Database.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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