Slothful Savoring

When you sit down at the dinner table, remember to eat slowly and savor every bite. I tell patients it takes about 20-30 minutes after you put food in your stomach for your brain to know that you put something there.

I also like to have a “snack” before lunch and dinner for this very reason. I’m usually starving before these meals. Sometimes my lunch is a whole 5 minutes long. If I’m really hungry I can put away a lot of food in that short period of time. I try to eat yogurt or a piece of fruit on the way home for the same reason. Otherwise I have the potential to empty out my pantry as I’m fixing the evening meal. Our stomach has the capacity to hold only about 1 quart. Our stomach can be stretched to around twice that size when we over stuff it. When we eat slowly the tendency is to not over stuff the stomach.

Think about the last time you went to a nice restaurant (the kind you don’t take your kids). The kind of restaurant where staff escorts you to your table and they are not running. Where you have to review the menu for a few minutes before ordering because you don’t know it by heart. Where you order your favorite beverage and actually get to sip it out of the glass instead of a straw. You order an appetizer, then about 20 minutes later your salad or soup arrives, then 20 minutes later your entrée. About half way through your entrée you are nicely full, not stuffed, and are asking for the all too popular…doggie bag. You have not even thought about the dessert yet!

Your holiday meal, or any meal, should be approached with the same respect. Besides, if you do any of the meal preparation for the holidays, you spend a lot of time organizing and preparing that meal. You serve all the wonderful food then step out of the way, so as not to get run over or lose a hand. You watch from a safe distance as this meal is devoured in a matter of seconds then it is time to clean it up. Meanwhile everyone else is reclined somewhere complaining how miserably full they are. Take your time and savor the flavor from each bite, chewing thoroughly, not simply swallowing. This will at least show the cooks how much you appreciate their time and effort.

Try these recipe substitutions to make your dish healthier:

Recipe Substitution
1 whole egg 2 egg whites
¼ cup liquid egg product
Sour Cream Low-fat or fat-free sour cream
Low-fat or fat free plain yogurt
Milk Skim milk
Heavy cream (not for whipping) 2 tbsp. flour whisked into 2 cups skim milk
Whipped cream Non-fat whipped products
Cheese Low-fat or fat-free varieties
Granulated sugar Sugar substitutes
Mayonnaise Low-fat or non-fat varieties
Creamed soups Low-fat or fat-free
Gravy with flour or corn starch Substitute flour/cornstarch with a little arrowroot
Cooking oil Equivalent measurements then add a little extra applesauce

Here are a couple of side recipes to try. Both are really good. I really love these sweet potatoes. Watch for next blog coming out shortly. I will have a couple of desserts for you.

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes cut into chunks
1/3 cup sugar-free maple syrup
2 tbsp light butter
1 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Place potatoes in a single layer in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, Pour mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Cover and bake for about 15 minutes. Uncover, stir, and continue cooking for about 45 minutes more until potatoes are tender; stirring about every 15 minutes until they start to brown. Serves 12.

Nutritional Information per Serving:
Calories 96
Saturated fat 1 gram
Total fat 2 grams
Carbohydrates 19 grams

Adapted from

Quick Creamed Spinach

1 bag (1 pound) frozen spinach leaves, thawed
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese
¾ cup skim milk
Nonstick cooking spray
1 small onion, finely chopped
Pinch ground nutmeg
¼ cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste. After thawing spinach, drain reserving 2 tablespoons of juice. In medium saucepan over low heat, combine the cream cheese, milk, and spinach juice. Simmer and stir, breaking up the cheese. The mixture will not be smooth. Remove from heat and add the nutmeg. In medium saucepan, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, cook onion until soft over medium heat. Add spinach, salt and pepper and mix. Add milk mixture and stir to mix. Transfer to small casserole coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with Parmesan cheese. Cook in over at 350 degrees until warmed through. Serves 4.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories 145
Total fat 7 grams
Carbohydrates 7 grams
11 grams protein

Adapted from