The older generation were the ones who got it right. They listened well and taught us a few things about nutrition and how to eat smart. So what was it your grandmother said as you were making your way out of the front door?
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Your body has gone for hours without food when you get up in the morning. If you don’t want to stagger through your day like a zombie, you need some nourishment within the first couple of hours after you wake.
This is one I remember my grandmother telling me all the time. “Chew your food slowly.” The first part before the adverb seems like a no-brainer but there are people who couldn’t even tell you what they had for breakfast. Why? They inhaled it. My grandmother also told me to chew each bite about 30 times! I'm not sure we need to go to that extreme!
Chewing your food does a number of things. First, it keeps you from getting indigestion. People who eat too fast will more than likely be hugging a glass of Alka-Seltzer and water or the toilet bowl not long after eating. Food is processed and broken down better by the body if it is thoroughly masticated instead of being introduced in the stomach in hunks.
Chewing also gives you a chance to enjoy your food. The French know all about this. Food is meant to be a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. You can taste all the flavors you love in your meal when you take your time to chew.
Thirdly, chewing increases your metabolism. Chewing gets those old stomach acids churning. Revving up the metabolism early in the day keeps it going.
Last of all, chewing helps you feel full longer. When you chew each piece of food, you prolong the meal. You’ll notice that you don’t get hungry so often when you practice this technique.
What else did grandmother say? She said to eat a balanced diet. Many of us didn’t want those beans she put in front of us but she really did have our best interests at heart. Beans are an excellent source of protein without all the fat that other forms of protein provide. They are also filled with fiber. If you were going out to play, you needed that sustained energy and the fiber to eliminate other fats that might be present in the meal. That’s why you didn’t feel like eating again even at dinnertime.
One thing that grandmother knew but maybe never HAD to mention is to eat only real foods. Let me explain that one. Today we are exposed to so many foods. Think about each aisle in the grocery store and how many items are crammed on all of the shelves in those aisles. Now, think about how many of those foods have been created or processed. Your grandmother shopped at the local market where she was given the choices of fresh fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, and meats. Yup, breakfast, lunch and dinner were all made from the freshest ingredients she could find at the corner store. Meals were prepared from simple ingredients, not processed or frozen. This is something to keep in mind when eating now. We have so many processed foods that are really not healthy. Grandmother knew about simple and fresh!
Grandmother knew her stuff.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? What grandmother really wanted was for us to get back to basics. Use her wise words as a starting point for better nutrition for you and your family.