I can hardly walk down the street these days without seeing someone eating or drinking along the way. What has happened to our eating habits that we think that it’s acceptable to eat wherever we are? Can we be too busy to be able to sit down for a meal? Has there been a shift in our eating culture that makes it okay to ingest a meal anywhere? People eat 20% of their meals in their cars rather than waiting until they are home and sitting at the kitchen table. Can one eat a healthy diet while on the move? It wouldn’t appear so since one in four Americans eat fast food every day.
There are so many venues where eating has become acceptable. Going to the movies requires buying a tub of popcorn and a large soda. A hotdog and nachos is mandatory when attending an outing at the ballpark. With a Starbucks available every block or two, ice coffee with whipped toppings has become a necessity during the hot days of summer. This behavior adds unnecessary calories to our diets and eventually packs on extra unwanted pounds. It’s rare that you see someone munching on a piece of fruit or a carrot.
Recently, while taking a walk along the streets of Boston, I counted at least twenty different food trucks. The food truck industry has become a new craze in our city which lends itself to fast eating. These are not the food trucks from last century, however. Rather, many are gourmet restaurants on wheels. They do offer good tasting food that is quickly served up so that hungry workers can get back to work. On a beautiful day at least people are sitting on building steps while they eat. I like the idea of the food truck especially when I can get a great vegan taco or rice bowl. The food truck provides a great opportunity for an impromptu picnic in a city park.
For me it’s all about making eating an activity that is important enough to do for its own sake. Today we do 50% of our eating while engaged in another activity. Food and drink is available everywhere, and it’s acceptable to eat while involved in most activities. I’m not sure that most of us know how to just be involved in the eating process. As a result, we are eating most of our daily calories while distracted.
I love food. I love talking about food, recipes, and looking at pictures of beautifully presented food. I enjoy a well-cooked meal that I can share with my family. Food is one of life’s great pleasures, so why would anyone want to lessen its enjoyment by engaging simultaneously in something else? When we can sit down for a meal and savor every mouthful, we eat less. Let’s start with one meal at a time. Sit down to a family dinner several times a week where electronic devices are not allowed. Not only will you enjoy your food more, but you will also discover how much you enjoy your family.