March is the perfect time of year to observe National Nutrition Month®—because many of us who made New Year’s resolutions to choose healthier foods might need extra encouragement right now. Sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month encourages all Americans to make informed food choices and establish sound eating and exercise habits. The theme for 2016 is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” emphasizing the importance of developing mindful eating patterns that incorporate nutritious and flavorful foods into your habits and family traditions. This theme is right in line with ISL’s signature “Dining by Design” program.
The dining experience at our communities features delicious food, great conversation, and an inviting atmosphere. ISL’s signature “Dining by Design” program was developed to enhance social interaction, proper nutrition, and overall resident well-being. Integral Senior Living won the Assisted Living Federation of America’s (ALFA) prestigious “Best of the Best” award for its dining program, enabling communities to offer one of the best culinary practices in senior living.
Essential to Dining by Design are:
- Chef-prepared meals
- Signature dishes served with well-rounded food choices
- Restaurant-style ordering and service
- Resident involvement in meal planning
Following mindful eating patterns doesn’t mean you need to turn away from the foods you and your family love, or ignore long-established family traditions. In fact there are ways to enjoy delicious foods and revel in traditions without overindulging.
Eat slowly. We often rush through our meals—either because we feel our lives are too busy, or eating has become mundane, a routine to be gotten through.
It is suggested to eat one bite at a time. Stop and take time between bites. Eating slowly not only allows you to enjoy your food, but it can also help you eat less by giving your stomach time to tell your brain that you are full.
Pay attention to flavors. Try to savor the overall eating experience—the different flavors, spices, and textures. Notice how different foods complement each other. If you’re a cook, experiment with subtle variations of favorite recipes.
Take a look at your eating patterns. Mindful eating includes observing not only which foods you eat, but where and when you eat, and how much. Notice when you snack, and why. Do you eat in your work space, in your bedroom, or in front of the TV? Think about finding a quiet place where you feel comfortable, away from other distractions, where you can eat slowly and mindfully, and savor the eating experience instead of multitasking through it.