Art of the Home 5 Steps to Eat Slowly and Lose Weight:
1. Enjoying Easy 3-Course Meals: it helps to start your meal with a small appetizer and end it with a small dessert (healthy if possible the majority of the time but a small slice of cake once in a while is just fine, even on a weekday!) In the summer, a refreshing and healthy appetizer can be sliced tomatoes with a dash of olive oil and a pinch of salt. An “assiette de crudité” (raw vegetables plate tossed with a vinaigrette) is a common meal starter in France. In the winter, a warmed up small cup of soup does the trick too. What many French women try to do is to split each meal into three parts, served one after the other:
- 1st: Appetizer (Entrée)
- 2nd: Main course (Plat principal)
- 3rd: Cheese or Dessert (Fromage ou Dessert)
This is a key element of the French diet. ”Three-course meal” may sound fancy but it really does not need to be. An elaborate three-course meal can be served for a Sunday lunch or can even become a five-course or 7-course meal for a holiday meal but today we are discussing everyday meals so we need to stay practical. As long as what you eat a balanced diet and enjoy three different smaller portion dishes, it will make a difference. The idea is that by breaking up your meal and bringing the different courses one at a time, you are slowing down the rhythm of your meal which will inevitably slow you down. French families are busy too, just like American families, so during the week in particular, the appetizer is very simple and can be the same a few times during a given week. In fact, meal starters can be made ahead of time and in larger quantities for leftover (carottes râpées for example is a great appetizer to make ahead and is an option for all four seasons). And except for soups, you can often use the same plate for your main course (that’s what baguette is for, soak up the vinaigrette!) The dessert can be fruits when in season, a slice of cheese with bread or yogurt.
2. Sitting Down at the Table: it’s best to eat sitting down so it’s important to decide not to eat when you’re standing up. It is much harder to eat slowly when we are standing up. Further, when we sit down, it also signals that this is a special time to enjoy – great for the spirit. This will also significantly cut on any snacking!
3. Finishing every bite: it is preferable to refrain from taking another bite before you are done with chewing what you have in your mouth. Chewing will also help with digestion.
4. Putting Silverware Down During Meals: after several bites, it is a good idea to put down our fork and knive. This is an opportunity to use our napkin, get a sip of water (or wine) and then pick up where we left off to continue our meal. It can also be a time to start a conversation with the family.
5. Preparing Fruits at the Table: peel fruits slowly and eat them with delight. If you are eating an apple, cut it in very thin slices. Spread them on a pretty dessert plate before eating it, and savor every slices.
Last but not least, enjoy a relaxing meal and bon appétit!