In a study published in ‘Obesity Research & Clinical Practice’ last year, it was found that 45 per cent of males who eat alone were exposed to metabolic syndromes and that adults, in general, tend to eat unhealthy when they do not have company with them to share their meal with.
Eating alone is often looked down upon in the society we live in, with the individual often being marked as lonely or even socially awkward. However, with millennials increasingly living far away from their families to either work or study, eating alone is not an option but rather a reality most have a hard time dealing with.
Specifically, in the Indian context, we have grown up either in nuclear or joint families, where meals are still considered a huge part of social upbringing. At least one meal of the day is supposed to be a sit-down meal with our family and is an essential part of the day. This is also considered an interaction session in traditional Indian families. Therefore, digressing from this and moving to a new city can take a toll on many, sooner or later.
As per a study reported by the American Heart Association in March 2017, eating alone is actually a better idea than indulging in social eating. The study was quoted saying, “chance of a diet lapse was 60 per cent more when eating with others.” This denotes that when eating out with others, one is more likely to eat food even after they feel full.
Various studies have stated that eating alone often leads to unhealthy eating habits since cooking a typical Indian meal may take too much time to prepare. This is especially an issue if one comes home after a long day at work and would want to eat and retire for the night, without spending too much time on anything else.
However, it is not necessary that one will take the unhealthy route and sadness or loneliness is bound to take over but rather, it depends majorly on the environment. By environment, we mean the weather, the person’s mood and the time of the day. These are external factors which do play a huge role in setting one’s food goals, no matter how big or small they are.
A major drawback of eating alone is considered to be lack of social interaction. However, experts have spoken about how this can lead to mindful eating rather than junk. While it does have its consequences on our health, it depends entirely on the individual how they approach this feeling of living alone.
How can you fight this craving of junk if you live alone?
Start cooking yourself! Begin with once a week and gradually increase your number of days. Every time your craving gets out of hand for junk food, ask a friend to come over. Sharing this load of unhealthy food is better than gulping it all down by yourself. Or try cooking whatever it is that your body craves for. Going for a walk helps as well.
Food alternatives you can opt for: Peanut chaat, fruits, peanut butter with fruits or vegetables, whole meals such as home-cooked roti and subzi or dal chawal, banana smoothie, vegetable salad, poha, masala omelette, boiled egg chaat, and chicken or fish or soya tikka.