Preparing for the meal event
Make a point to sit down for a meal and eat in a calm, relaxed state. Not rushed, angry or stressed.
If you find yourself in a not ideal emotional state, you have options:
• Sit down and sip something hot before taking the first bite. This relaxes the muscles in the GI tract. Choose hot tea, broth, or lemon water.
• Put on mood music. Something relaxing that you enjoy.
• Do a short meditation. For this, you can download the app “insight Timer” which offers tons of free guided meditations. Another choice is U-tube videos. Simply search “meditations” and choose something that looks interesting. I personally like “sound bath meditations” which are voice free, and offer sound tones that promote relaxation.
• If relaxing, or taking the time out for these suggestions is not possible, then you may choose to eat an “easy” meal such as a protein shake, yogurt, cottage cheese, or soup.
Be sure the food is “bariatric friendly” in texture and consistency
• Use a meat thermometer and cook to safety temperature then remove from heat
• Try brining (1/4 c salt and ¼ c sugar, fill bowl or ziplock bag with water and add meat. Let stand in refrigerator for 2 hours up to 24 hrs) or marinating meats ahead of time
• Use a crockpot recipe with denser or less expensive cuts of meats to tenderize and preserve moisture.
• Avoid dense/fibrous foods such as pineapple, asparagus, artichoke, celery, and skirt steak. These tend to “ball up” even when chewed well.
The act of eating
• Cut small bites, the size of your thumbnail or less than the diameter of a penny.
• Use an appetizer, shrimp, or child size fork to help you better gauge small bite size.
• Chew well. Food should be a liquidy, pureed consistency without chunks before swallowing.
• Try not drinking with the meal or for 60 minutes after. It is fine to drink up until your first bite.
• Slow down your speed. Put your fork down in between bites. You could also distract yourself between bites by reading a page in your book between bites. Just be sure its not a stressful topic!
Choose 1-2 of these tips that are not something you already incorporate into your mealtimes and try them at each meal this week. Write them on a post it note and stick it at your eating spot. Be sure to take mental note of how the techniques you chose changed the eating experience (or not) and if there were any barriers to you completing the action task. (ie: I didn’t have enough time to eat slowly) so that you can make a plan for improvement next time.