Canada's food guide

Take time to eat

Take time to eat

Taking time to eat is an important part of being mindful of your eating habits.

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Benefits of taking time to eat

Taking time to eat can help you:

  • enjoy your food
  • focus on your food
  • prevent overeating
  • enjoy eating with others
  • make healthier food choices
  • be mindful of your eating habits and choices

With busy lifestyles, it is common:

  • to eat quickly
  • to eat while distracted or doing other things
  • not to set aside time to eat and plan meals

Eating quickly can prevent you from knowing when you are full. Eating while distracted or doing other things, such as watching TV, can increase how much you eat and drink. When distracted, people may eat larger portions or lose track of how much they have already eaten. These can lead to eating more than you need.

Healthy eating habits include taking the time to make food an important part of your life.

How to take time to eat

There are different ways you can take time to eat.

Eat slowly and thoughtfully

Focus on your food while you are eating. To do this:

  • notice when you feel full
  • don’t rush when eating out
  • put your knife and fork down between bites
  • eat with others and enjoy the conversation with friends and family
  • slow down and allow yourself time to enjoy your food
  • chew your food thoroughly to experience all of the:
    • aromas
    • textures
    • flavours and taste

Eat without distractions

Pay attention when you are eating:

  • computers, cell phones and other electronics distract from eating. Make mealtimes “electronic free.”
  • sit down at the table instead of in front of a TV. Focus meals around the food.
  • At work, step away from your workstation and eat lunch in the cafeteria or outside with coworkers.

Think about your portions when eating. Eating when you are distracted may increase the likelihood of you eating too much:

  • of what you are currently eating
  • in future meals and snacks

Set aside time

Plan to make eating an important part of your life. You can do this by:

  • setting aside time to focus on your meals and snacks whether you are:
    • at work
    • at home
    • on the go

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Eat without distractions
  • Save time

Further reading

Date modified: 2019-01-14