Often we’re encouraged to make sacrifices when it comes to food satisfaction. We’re encouraged to eat for function and eating simply for pleasure can evoke feelings of guilt. However, if we eat foods that are unsatisfying, we can continue searching for satisfaction even though we’re no longer hungry. Ever craved chocolate, tried to kill the craving by eating an apple, a few rice cakes, a yoghurt and then eventually just eaten the chocolate? It’s like that.
Studies show that eating for pleasure is associated with higher sense of well being and smaller portions sizes (1). Satisfaction is the hub of intuitive eating. Every principle helps to bring us closer to feeling satisfied with our food.
What Do You Actually Want to Eat?
After years of dieting, many people are at a loss as to what food they actually like. Here are some questions to help us find satisfaction in our meals. Commit to choosing foods that you truly enjoy, without moralistic judgement.
What taste sounds appealing – savory, sweet, salty, rich, bitter, tart, spicy, mild, plain
Are there flavours you really don’t like or find boring?
Do your flavour preferences change during the day?
What texture sounds interesting? – smooth, creamy, crunchy, chewy, crispy, crumbly, hard, soft, flaky, dry, thick, thin, heavy, light
What food would provide this texture?
For example, think about a time that you had a sore throat. What texture did you crave? Most people will say they craved something smooth like a soup.
Right now, is there an aroma that comes to mind that would spark your palate? – Is it the smell of roasted garlic, freshly basked bread, hot coffee, vanilla, cheesey, lemony, smoky
Are there smells that you dislike or find uninteresting?
Do you want something hot or cold?
Do you like hot or cold breakfasts? What about lunch and dinner?
Do you want something colorful and varied or simple and bland looking?
Volume and Sustaining Capacity
Do you want something hearty that will sustain you for a number of hour? Or do you want something light and small that will fill you for a short time?
A Note on Mindful Eating
Sometimes people find it easier to figure out what foods they enjoy by eating mindfully. This involves being present and bringing a non judgmental awareness to the eating experiences. It’s important to note that the aim here isn’t to eat less. The aim is to allow your body the satisfaction of eating.
Cornil and Chandon, Pleasure as an ally of healthy eating? Contrasting Visceral and Epicurean Eating Pleasure and Their Association with Portion Size Preferences and Well Being