Loving the Bite: Stay Lean Tip #5 – Slow it Down


sweet-potato-stew-red-beansStay Lean This Holiday Season

Are you officially in the “Holiday Rush?” If you want to stay lean this Holiday Season, one good way to do so is to slow yourself right down…at dinner, at least.

You may have never thought about it, but rushing through meals has actually had a significant impact on health and waistlines as a society.  While it may seem intuitive that a “quick bite” would cause us to eat less; mindless, fast eating actually does the opposite: We eat more.  There is no shortage of data to show that it has had drastic impacts on health.  If you’re interested in more on this subject, here’s a great book.  Or, you can take my word for it and intentionally, mindfully, slow down your eating for a healthy, lean, strong body.

This week, let’s discuss 7 Strategies to Slow Down at Dinner and one of my favorite Slow Cooker Meals (it is actually a great one to use up lots of leftovers whenever you have them).

Recipe of the Week: Delicious Sweet Potato and Red Bean Slow Cooker Stew


  • 2  teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2  cups chopped onion
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • Optional: 1 pound ground turkey, chicken, or leftover meat
  • 4  cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 1/2  cups cooked small red beans
  • 1 1/2  cups vegetable broth
  • 1  cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2  cup water
  • 1  teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon black pepper
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1  (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 3  tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 3  tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • 6  lime wedges


Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook 5 minutes or until tender.  If using ground turkey, add to skillet and cook with onion/garlic until browned.

Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add sweet potato and next 10 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid into a small bowl. Add peanut butter; stir well with a whisk. Stir peanut butter mixture into stew. Top with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 1/3 cups stew, 1 1/2 teaspoons peanuts, and 1 lime wedge)

Nutritional Info: CALORIES 308(26% from fat); FAT 8.8g(sat 1.5g,mono 4.2g,poly 2.3g); PROTEIN 11.1g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 64mg; SODIUM 574mg; FIBER 10.2g; IRON 2.7mg; CARBOHYDRATE 49.9g


In case you’re wondering, this recipe really has nothing to do with the topic at hand, mindful eating.  But, I like to share recipes each week and this is a delicious meal on which to practice slow eating.  Starting today, you can actually improve your health by chewing more thoroughly, thinking about your food, and eating mindfully.  Here’s how.

1) Chew each bite 20+ times.  Really.  Sounds simply, but it can be tough.   You have to be mindful, purposeful, and tenacious. Make thoroughly chewing a habit and not only will you reduce the amount of food you eat (or times you over-eat), but you can improve gastrointestinal hormone responses as well (if you’d like to see a study, here you go.)

2)Eat slower by no longer shoveling food into your mouth, bit after bite. Put down your fork between bites.  Take a drink of water. Enjoy conversation and the people around you.  Shoveling is for snow, not food.

3) Eat at a table, without distractions like the TV. If you want to connect with those in your household, improve your own health, improve your kid’s food choices, and eat slower, try family dinners at a table with no TV.

4) Savor the flavor.  Think about the food you’re eating and the healthful ingredients in it.  This week’s recipe is a great example.  There’s so many flavors in it, from peanuts to lime to chili to sweet potatoes.  Thinking through ingredients often makes you want to choose nourishing ones and omit chemicals…because who wants to spend their dinner thinking about Blue dye #20?

5) Make it a bit tougher.  Ever wonder why certain popular tend to overeat less than others? Or even why children take so long to eat.  Our utensils have made the whole “shoveling” food thing a little too easy.  Instead, make it tougher (using utensils is hard for kids). Try chop sticks…you’ll likely eat slower.

6) While slowing down, make yourself ultra-aware of how full you are (or aren’t). When you start to feel full, put down your fork, wait a few minutes, and then decide if you really want more or not.  If you are part of the “clean-plate” club, save your leftovers for lunch tomorrow and next time, give yourself smaller portions.  If needed, have a glass of water, sit for 5 minutes, and then decide if you want more.

7) Keep the extras in the kitchen.  Family-style dinner service, in which all the foods are on the table and passed around is fun…and I recommend leaving it for special occasions.  For everyday dinners, I recommend filling your plate and then taking it to the table, while leaving any extra behind in the kitchen.  You’ll be less likely to dig into unintended “seconds” if you have to get up and walk to another room to get them.

No time for these strategies? My point exactly.  Healthier meals are as much about the actual, physical eating of the food as the food you eat. Make sit-down, undistracted dinner’s a priority.  Who knows? By slowing down, you may just be able to speed up on the bike.

Fuel Your Ride.  Nourish Your Body.

image c/o louisiana.kitchenandculture.com

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    December 2023
    M T W T F S S


Sugar Alternatives for Energy and Hydration

Question: I am using the homebrew sugar formulations (sometimes added to green tea).  I am also trying to wean myself off 1/2 dose adrenalean “lip tonic delivery system” (biorhythm brand- caffeine, hoodia g, synephrine, yohimbe) capsule for energy.

My question is other than juice, can you suggest modifications in lieu of table sugar for energy and hydration.


Both raw/organic honey or agave can work great in the homebrew (substitute in the same quantities for the sugar, or to taste), but you do have to shake well in order to make sure they don’t settle out.  Have you tried either of these?  Also, make sure to use at least the minimum amount of salt recommended in the homebrew as the temps rise, you need the sodium replacement if you’re sweating.

Sports Drink Homebrew

Please send us your questions for our Expert Sports Nutritionist, Kelli Jennings to “Ask the Sports Nutritionist“. Kelli Jennings is a Registered Dietitian with a passion for healthy eating, wellness, & sports nutrition. For more information go to www.apexnutritionllc.com.

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