So I used to struggle a lot when it came to meal times. From moments when I’ve had to share meals with my family or my partner, to the meals I had when I ate out, I just found it very difficult to cope with the amount of food that was given on my plate.
Now I understand that this isn’t always the case for everyone, and I never want to discriminate you if you need to eat more of if you can manage more food more easily, there is never any shame in that. But as a smaller girl in comparison to my friends, my family, and my partner, who is 6 foot 2 inches and double my weight, I think it’s fair to say that both of our dietary needs are going to be significantly different. So these are a few points that I would consider if you ever feel that you can never keep up with finishing your plate like everyone else.
Plan Smaller Meals for Yourself
Between my partner and I, I find that we are both equally responsible for meal planning and making. On the nights that my partner is making a meal, I am always very flattered, and I do love his cooking.
But sometimes, what will happen is that he will give me a very large plate, full of the same amount of the meal that is one his plate. So this would seem fair wouldn’t it? And it makes a lot of sense to do it this way, but what I find is that it is a lot of food for me to manage. As a result, I find that I over eat, beyond the point that I can physically manage, and this makes me feel sick.
So how do I solve this? Well when it’s my turn to make the meals, then what I do is this; I plan the amount that I’m going to make for the both of us, by roughly estimating what my partner wants and what I know I can manager. Therefore, when we sit down to eat, I can finish my plate with no trouble at all, and I feel all the more better for it.
Of course with family, this can be a lot harder. For some people, refusing to finish your plate is a sign of rudeness. This can be very tricky to work with especially when you don’t feel you have a say. In this case, see if you can explain this as nicely as possible to the person cooking the meal. Maybe ask for a smaller portion because you know that you won’t be able to manage it and you don’t want to be the one to waste any food. Hopefully this will encourage the cook to be more easy on you. Or you could ask to save the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Know When to Say No
This one is pretty important when you’re more in control of you’re meals. Say for example, you are out to dinner, and you are feeling very full up. You really cannot take another bite of that amazingly delicious lasagna meal. It’s a real shame because its so delicious, so you really don’t want to waste it, plus you know that you’re paying for it, so you don’t want to waste money.
Now if it’s not actually too much left, then consider saying no to finishing that lasagna. If you are forcing yourself to finish a meal that you have no room for, then you might make yourself feel sick.
The number of times that I’ve found myself feeling so ill because I’ve gone too far and over-eaten have been countless. In the past, I used to be unable to pluck up the confidence to stop a meal when I know my body couldn’t handle it. I would sometimes keep eating just because I liked the food so much and didn’t want to waste it. In this case it might be worth asking the restaurant if they would allow you to take the remainder of the meal away with you. Some places will be able to box this for you as it helps them to reduce food waste,
Another problem you could be having if you’re struggling to finish you’re meal is that you’re eating too fast. I know I have this problem, and when I eat a meal too quickly, I end up feeling sick as I haven’t given my body enough time to process what I’ve just eaten.
As your body needs about 20 minutes to tell your brain whether your stomach is actually full or not, this delay means that your body needs that time to process and send that information to your brain. One way that can help you eat more slowly is to chewing through your food properly.
Spend some time to eat each mouthful and break down as much as possible. This can also be immensely helpful with preventing bad indigestion, and for me I find this helps me to finish a reasonably sized meal much more easily without feeling queasy. And remember, never feel pressured to rush your meal!
Do a Shared Buffet Style Meal
Now the last one is a method that can really help you control the amount of food you’re getting to eat, as you’re not being forced to cope with too much or an amount that would make you sick.
The way that a buffet style meal works is that you have a few dishes with each kind of food on it, for example a dish with potatoes, gravy, vegetables, meat etc. So every component of a meal is separated, and you can choose as little or as much of whatever you like. Now of course this is not meant to encourage poor eating habits, such as eating too little food or picking little variation which is poor in nutrition.
The buffet style is actually pretty common in a lot of Asian cultures, as this encourages meal times to be a more social activity, bring families together. This is such a sweet way of doing a meal, as we know that family time, or time away from distractions with your loved ones, is very important in building a foundation for support, care and happiness.
So my aim here is to find little ways around meal planning not just for someone like me who is so small compared to my friends and family, but also for anyone who struggles to finish a meal. I hope these suggestions will help you eat more enjoyably, and remember that eating should be fun, not a chore.