Have you ever acknowledged that your environment and your nutrition are two factors that go hand in hand? This environment is the space you eat in, who you eat with, the state of your kitchen when you prepare your food, and what can be seen on your countertops at first glance.
In 2022, Groupe Sélection joined forces with the Nutrition Department of the Faculty of Medicine at University de Montréal to create the Groupe Sélection Funds – Alimentation pour un vieillissement en santé (Nutrition for healthy ageing).
We had the chance to speak with Marie Marquis, professor in the Nutrition Department of the Faculty of Medicine at Université de Montréal, to learn some of her tips. Our question: How can we make our environment more conducive to better nutrition?
Make your meal a ceremony
When we eat by ourselves, we tend to get distracted and eat on the counter without paying any attention to the food we consume. We save our pretty dishes for special occasions like the holidays, or for when we have family or friends over.
Often, we watch television while we eat. We are absorbed by our favourite show instead of enjoying our meal; we simply guzzle it down.
Even if you’re eating by yourself, it is important to create a ritual that will make your meal pleasurable. Don’t wait for guests to take out your prettiest tablecloth or your porcelain dishes! The art of setting the table brings joy into that moment and makes a meal more pleasurable.
No need for a large budget. Take out some colourful doilies with matching plates, some pretty glasses and voilà!
“You can put on some music, and maybe light a candle, but let’s keep the television turned off. It’s important to be aware that screens are stimulating and that we tend to forget about our meal, especially about the quantity of food we’re eating. Reserving 20 to 30 minutes to settle down and eat each of your meals is very feasible,” advises Marie Marquis.
Share your meal with someone
Do you live in a residence and most often eat your meals in your apartment? Why not try to join the other retirees in the dining room?
Eating with other people is beneficial to your appetite and makes your meal more stimulating. Everyone has lived through this: when we have guests over for dinner, we always make a stronger effort to cook something delicious.
“We recommend eating with someone else as often as possible. In the presence of others, our eating habits are different, we find our appetite again, and without surprise we try to eat more and eat better foods,” says the nutritionist.
Break out of your routine
Do you have a habit of always eating the same thing? Do you avoid certain food categories?
The next time you go to the grocery store, why not try to add some foods you don’t usually eat to your cart? Then, let your imagination run wild by making a fruit salad, compote, or sautéed vegetables with various spices.
While you’re at it, tap into other continents’ cuisine by recreating specialty dishes to suit your taste!
The kitchen is a creative space where you can explore gourmet experiences from which will come many benefits! Cooking will be more pleasurable, and the variety of ingredients added to your recipes will have a positive influence on your overall health.
Place healthy foods within sight
Have you noticed how difficult it is to resist chips or sweets that are readily accessible?
These foods lack nutrients and should be put away in the pantry for the occasional snack.
However, don’t hesitate to place fruits and crackers in a bowl right on your table or to leave a plate of nuts out on the counter. It’s easier to eat healthier foods when they are easily accessible.
These gestures will encourage you to eat more and get real health benefits from it!
The same concept applies to hydration. If you don’t like plain water, add some lemon, some lime, or slices of ginger to it, and modulate the temperature to your taste: with or without ice, you decide!
“To increase your daily water intake, you could put a jug of water on the table with fruit slices in it and choose a colourful glass to remind yourself of the importance of staying hydrated,” suggests the nutritionist.
Organize your space
A well-organized and sleek kitchen will make you want to spend more time cooking. If your kitchen is quite small, it might be time to rethink your storage system.
For example, you can buy clear containers to rearrange your drawers and pantry to optimize the space. You will have more room for things, and it will make it easier to spot the foods you need right away.
In this process, you might notice that you have duplicates of some utensils. Declutter your environment and make other people happy by donating what you don’t need to an organization.
“There’s nothing worse than cooking a meal with limited space in a messy kitchen. The pleasure we get from cooking will certainly be decreased. Tidy up, and then cook,” explains Marie Marquis.
Make sure you have functional essentials like sharp knives, or small kitchen appliances like an electric juicer or a mixer. These useful investments will preserve your joints and make you want to bake more if that’s what you’re into, or to make freshly pressed nutritious juices in the morning!
Decor is also a great idea!
“Add some fresh herbs and recipe books that you can switch out on your kitchen counters. It not only decorates your space, but it’s also entertaining, and appetizing,” says the expert.
We don’t necessarily think of those concepts when we start cooking or eating a meal. However, your environment unquestionably influences your appetite and your overall health in the long run. These small adjustments or changes will certainly help make a difference!
So, which tip resonates with you the most?
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