How to Make a Better You – Take the 20-Minute Meal Challenge

By Nina Sabin - Healthy Tip


Source: Percolate Kitchen

Every day we are so busy that finding time to eat can be difficult. Our lives are full of stresses and pressures and getting time for yourself during the day often seems impossible. However, for good digestion you need to avoid stress while eating and give your body time to digest the food.


The truth is “How” you eat is even more important than “What” you eat.

According to HCI (Health Coaching Institute) eating while you are stressful can lead to an upset stomach, food unable to be digested due to decreased nutrient assimilation, and unwanted fat storage that can lead to weight gain.


There is a branch of the Central Nervous System called Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) that influences the gastrointestinal function. The ANS is responsible for stimulating the digestive process.


Digestion only happens effectively if the body is relaxed. If your body is stressed it turns off the ability to digest food. That is why when you eat in a rush the food feels like a rock in your stomach or your stomach feels like a balloon.


How do you switch from eating in a rush to slowing down, savoring and enjoying your food? Making eating an activity to appreciate and not just a quick task to get done is the key.

It takes our body about 20 minutes to truly process and digest food. As such, a meal quicker than 20 minutes interrupts that healthy digestive process. How then can we find enough time in our day to spend 20 minutes on each meal?


Take the 20-minute meal challenge with me. That means for the next seven days each meal should be as close to 20 minutes as you can. Here are tips to make the challenge work and even make meal time fun.


1) Remember we are looking at ‘how’ you eat not ‘what’ you eat.


2) Start by first timing yourself at your next meal – how long at your normal pace did it take you to eat that meal. The first time for me was 10 minutes.


3) Write a 20-minute meal journal for 7 days. The columns include:


4) After your first day, see if you can increase your time by five minutes if possible. If you can only due two, that is still increasing and that is a win.


Here are a few other suggestions to help you reach your 20-Minutes.


  • Chew your food slowly – the recommended amount is 30 times, but to be honest, I haven’t made it passed 11 times yet.

  • Take breaths between meals, at least three during each meal

  • Put you fork or utensil down at least three times during a meal.

Each of these tips will help you increase your eating time and be relaxed during meals which in turn will improve a healthy digestion process.


Remember this challenge is to make you eat healthier and help your digestive process. The 20-Minute Meal Journal is not a food journal. It is for you to discover if you are taking enough time during your meals for your stomach to let you know what the right amount of food is for your body. Many times when we eat too fast our stomachs haven’t had time to process the food and we think we are still hungry, but the truth is we might be satisfied.


Lastly, as you do this challenge remember eat until you are satisfied but not full. The recommended percent to know if you are satisfied is about 75% full – which your stomach will say “ah, I feel good and satisfied” if we eat past that feeling because as there is more food on our plate, we are eating too fast, or the food is so good – we then get that pain in our gut and say “I wish I didn’t eat so much.”


To Make a Better You – Take the 20-Minute Meal Challenge and see how much better you feel when your digestion process is having enough time to work.


Please leave a comment if you are taking the challenge on Health Chat with Nina. Also let me know in seven days from when you start how you did with the challenge. Remember there is no judgement, we just want you to become the healthiest you can be.


This is one way to help your digestive process, feel healthier, and look better. There are many more strategies that we offer to help you become the BEST version of you can be through our Living Free – Health and Life Coaching.


Sign up for a free consultation and for more information about our services.


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