Developing healthier eating habits

This new generation will be the first to live a shorter lifespan than their parents, and a poor and excessive diet is a large part of the reason why. So, let's once again address ways to eat in a manner to keep weight under control. 

Astonishing as it sounds, while your mother was right about many things, she was not correct about a few related to food. For instance, “don’t talk while eating” is actually a bad idea: If you engage in conversation you will eat less as your stomach will have time to signal your brain that it is full. Additionally, you will bond with your family and build memories to share. Mum also told you to finish everything on your plate, and she was 100-percent out of order—leaving some food is the culinary equivalent of controlled flight. Not drinking while dining? Wrong! Consuming water also reduces one’s caloric intake.

Here’s another trick: Do not eat while watching a TV show or movie. When you consume while otherwise engaged, you will eat more. Don’t drive drunk, don’t dine distracted. 

Ever notice how the baggage hold is just big enough for everything you stuff in it and the little slot for papers on board is always full? Same goes for dinner plates and bowls. Try getting smaller crockery—you will of necessity serve smaller portions.

The habit of cutting up all your food, discarding the knife, and chowing down is another psychological deceit that leads to overeating. Keep your knife and fork at hand, cut a chunk of food, eat, and then put the utensils down to chew the vittles and chew the fat.

Mother also told you not to spoil your appetite. Actually, if you drink lots of water during the day—water, not soda—you will spoil your appetite and decrease your food intake. There is very good sense in consuming meals at regular intervals, as this embeds good dining habits and prevents snacking on snacks high in fat, sugar, and salt. On that topic, when you fancy a snack go for apple or celery slices, maybe with some peanut butter and almonds, but not the kind covered in sugar or salt. 

Consuming more fruits and vegetables is a good and healthy step to take. Now don’t get me wrong, I like a nice steak, but try to have much smaller portions of red meat—3 or 4 ounces—and complete the meal with several vegetables. And where possible, choose leaner proteins like fish and chicken.

When cooking, find substitutes to enhance the flavor factor: herbs and spices instead of salt, light sour cream instead of butter or regular cream, and lower glycemic index sweeteners instead of sugar. 

We all know how daft it is to have an aircraft fall out of the sky because of fuel exhaustion, an unforgiveable error. Developing healthier eating habits will keep you aloft—and alive—longer.

Jonathan Sackier
Dr. Jonathan Sackier is an expert in aviation medical concerns and helps members with their needs through AOPA Pilot Protection Services.
Topics: Aviation Industry, Pilot Protection Services, AOPA Products and Services

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