I have been traveling quite a bit for work these days, which inevitably leads to eating many meals alone. Eating by myself is not something I have ever really enjoyed — and I realized during a values exercise I took in my coach training program that sharing a meal with my family is an important part of my life. I ate at the dinner table with my family every night of the week growing up, so I feel a natural pull to want to eat at the table with my family as an adult.
But when you’re stuck in a hotel or airport alone, you just have to make do with what you have. Here are some of my tips for making solo meals enjoyable:
Order something nice. You’ll be much more likely to have a great meal if you’re eating something delicious. Don’t skimp just because you’re alone, all meals are meant to be enjoyed! Don’t forget to order yourself a nice glass of wine!
Take advantage of the opportunity to people watch. By far my favorite part about dining alone is the time I have to take in my surroundings. If I’m eating with someone else my focus would be on them. But if I’m alone I can people watch to my heart’s content without ignoring my date.
Catch up on your reading. If I’m in a quite cafe or restaurant, sometimes I will bring along the newspaper and catch up on the world news. Or, if I’m in the middle of a really great book I might pull out my Kindle. Right now I’m reading The Red Notebook and I have about 10 other books on my must-read list (see below!).
With today’s iPads, iPhones, Wi-Fi and more, modern girls literally have the world at their fingertips. Instant message. Instant access. Instant gratification. However, I think there are some things, two in particular, that are better when we take the time to enjoy them. Perhaps in the same ways that our parents and grandparents did when they were our age!
I wont lie, I really love my iPad. I think that it’s great I can carry around thousands of books in a tiny, nearly weightless reader. I even order a lot of magazines on it now. However, there are some things that just are not the same on the screen. For example, I cannot read any newspapers online (besides a few foreign ones that are too hard to get in the US). I just like the feeling of holding a newspaper. In college one of my best friends and I took a early morning economics course. Each Tuesday and Thursday we would trek to the dining hall at 7am to eat omelets and share a newspaper. He, the money and sports sections. Me, the front page headlines and travel section.
Sure fast foods are quick and convenient for our always-moving lives. We eat in our cars, at our desks, standing up and walking down the street. Studies have shown that it takes at least 20 minutes for our bodies to feel full. So many of us don’t take the time to eat a nice, long, healthy meal. This leads to that awful snacking that always seems to happen during the rest of the day. If we all took the time to take a nice, leisurely lunch we wouldn’t feel the need to snack (on what literally is garbage to our bodies) all afternoon. Time yourself. See exactly how long you give yourself to eat lunch. If it’s under 15 minutes, I dare you to double it!