Healthy Eating

5 Things I Learned From Eating Candy.

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Some of the best lessons I ever learned about food and eating came from my days of eating m&m’s at summer camp.

When I was little, I went to an all-girls sleep-away camp in the summers. I loved it - but they had very strict rules about candy. It wasn’t allowed. Parents were given very stern warnings not to send any food or candy in their care packages - and, for the most part, they behaved.

For those of us accustomed to having easy access to chips and candy and Ding-Dongs, this was an extreme hardship.

Every morning at camp, we were allowed to choose ONE (1) snack item from the camp canteen that we would receive later in the day. The Canteen offered fruit and granola bars - but they also featured a few familiar ‘junk food’ products, which most of us chose.

The food at camp was, shall we say…..cafeteria-esque…. so the opportunity to eat brand name, recognizable candy - like what we’d had at home - was a very big deal.

I had a little bunkmate - I’ll call her Joanna - and she and I would decide together in the morning what candy we would order.

It was serious stuff.

We only got to choose one item, so we wanted to be sure that we made a good choice.

We usually chose a bag of m&ms - because we felt like we were getting many pieces of candy in one bag, as opposed to one big candy bar.

By the time the afternoon rolled around and it was time for ‘snack’, the anticipation was practically killing us. We’d been thinking about our candy treats all morning long - all throughout our mushy, beige lunch - and the time had finally arrived when we would get to savor our delicacies.

You might have expected that we would have wolfed down our candy as soon as it arrived - but, oh no, we were way too disciplined for that.

We knew that this was our one chance all day to have something familiar from home, something that brought us sheer chocolate delight - and the memories would have to last us all the way to the next day.

We would develop elaborate sorting rituals for our m&m’s. We would place them into special piles before we could start eating them.

And, although this now sounds very ‘early on-set OCD’ - it was actually just our way of making the experience last.

We ate those m&ms one by one by one. We ate them slowly. We savored them.

We even came up with new and interesting ways to eat them - some were bitten in half, some were dissolved in our mouths, others were nibbled.

We genuinely believed that the m&ms tasted different from day to day - that’s how closely we paid attention to what we ate.

Sometimes, we would even save some of them for the next day, just to be sure that we would always have enough.

We rarely felt the need to finish all our m’s.

Those were the best m&ms I ever had.

I didn’t know it at the time, but eating candy actually taught me how to love the act of eating - and those lessons serve me really well today, when I can remember them!

5 Lessons I Learned From Eating Candy

1. Plan

Think about what you’re going to eat in advance. What would you really like to have? Try to minimize those times when you wind up having to eat ‘what’s there’ as opposed to what you would have preferred.

2. Get Excited

Sometimes we look forward to lunch just because it’s a break from work - but what would it be like to look forward to the actual food? It’s easier - and more fun - to get excited about your food if you have planned for it (see #1!).

  1. Make a Ritual.

Prepare yourself and your space for your food. Create a dining experience, even if it’s something as small as using a fancy napkin. Make it MATTER. Make it memorable.

  1. Take Your Time

Sloooow down. Where’s the fire? Even if you’re short on time, I guarantee that you could still slow down even for a minute or two more. Breathe in between bites. It matters.

5. Savor

When was the last time you really and truly tasted and savored every single bite of your meal? We’ve all heard it before - but slowing down to eat and savoring each morsel will give your stomach time to register that it’s full. You’ll probably feel genuinely satisfied on less food than you’re used to.