Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, CPT
There is a distinct and matchless sensation about traveling to Europe that warms my heart and soul. What I find most impressive about Europeans are their eating habits and lifestyle. Despite the many American fads, Europeans seem to be more at ease, satisfied, and happy without hearing the word diet. After having had the opportunity to visit and teach in Europe for a number of years, I’d like to share what I have learned.
Balanced Portions— Regardless of their food preference, whether eating at home or at a restaurant, portions are moderate, even their plates, bowls and cups are small sized—meaning there is always room for a small treat, if desired!
Never Skip Meals— Three meals a day is a ritual and eating together with family and friends is a habit Europeans practice often; gathering together to share meals on a weekly basis, if not daily.
Walk Everywhere— Europeans walk or bike everywhere, and keep active in their daily lives. The balance of exercise and food is something we can all apply a little more to our lives.
Simple Living— Europeans’ live uncluttered lives, bringing balance to their homes and closets as well as their diets.
Take Family Vacations— Most recently while traveling to Vienna, I met a couple from Spain who although admired the career opportunities offered in the USA, could never trade their one-month vacation each year. While this may not be realistic for many Americans, I think it’s important to balance work with downtime to get the most of life.
Balance and moderation is the key to a happy lifestyle, whether it’s taking a half day from work occasionally, or including some sweet treats to your diet. So the next time you’re feeling deprived of some “you time”, look to Europe and see what you can do to bring some balance to your life.
Sylvia is the founder of Hispanic Food Communications, Inc, a nutrition and food communications consulting company. She is a bilingual Hispanic native, a leading expert in cross-cultural Hispanic cuisine as it relates to nutrition and health, and an advisory partner to the Food and Beverage Industry.