I would bet that the overwhelming majority of people cannot answer the question posed in the title of this entry: How much time do YOU allot for meals? I am referring to the time spent preparing the meal and then eating it. If you totaled up all of the time devoted to those two activities per day, what would that number look like?
For people that have custodial age children at home, a full time job and perhaps a commute to and from work, I suspect that the time allotment for meals is a pretty low number of hours/minutes. With there only being 24 hours in a day, the opportunity to spend hours preparing, cooking and then savoring a meal is slim-none.
When there is not time to prepare, cook and slowly enjoy a meal, there will be a good chance that the following will occur:
- Skipping meals/snacks entirely
- Using the microwave to cook processed frozen foods
- Resorting to meal substitutes such as protein bars and shakes
- Getting meals that are quick to obtain such as fast-food drive throughs or pizza delivery
- Eating the food quickly without taking the time to assess levels of hunger or exactly what is being consumed
Individually or collectively, the above bullet points will dramatically decrease the chances of long-term weight control success.
Reality is such that most people cannot allot hours and hours each day to preparing, cooking and eating meals/snacks. However, perhaps one or two days a week, such as the more “down days” of the week (Saturday and Sunday) can be used to do some planning and meal prepping for the more hectic days. Concerning time spent actually eating those meals, try as best as possible to allot more time for this.
If you quickly come to the conclusion that “I have no more time” to allot to eating activities, I would ask that you check that “smart phone” of yours to see how much screen time you are engaging in each week. You may sheepishly find out that the time you allot to checking your favorite social media feeds is lots more than you thought. Convert that time to something much more important: Your health and happiness.