There are many things we do each day out of habit that require little thought, including brushing our teeth, walking, driving, and even eating. Eating on ‘autopilot’ (also known as mindless eating) can be particularly damaging as we can develop poor eating habits like over-eating, eating too quickly, or eating when we are not truly hungry.
Top Tips for Mindful Eating
Drink a glass of water
This starts the digestion process and can help you feel more satisfied and hydrated before eating. Sometimes we confuse hunger with thirst, so having a glass of water can help to distinguish between these two urges.
You want to be fully present while eating (ie. not walking or driving). Mindful eating involves really focusing on the eating process. So sit down, relax, and really focus on the meal in front of you!
When You Eat, Only Eat!
Minimize distractions by putting your phone away and turning off the TV (or any other type of technology) during meals. Give eating the attention it deserves so that you fully enjoy your food and can be mindful of each bite. Eating without distraction can also help you better recognize when you are full.
Pause Before Eating
Take a moment before taking your first bite to notice the aroma, visual appearance, and texture of the food. This brief delay before eating will draw your attention to the experience of eating and help prepare your system for the food you are about to consume.
Show Your Food Some Love
Enjoy your food with gratitude. This means acknowledging the gift of food and the effort was taken by others to grow and prepare it.
Eat a Little More Slowly
Take the time to really enjoy your food and the eating experience. Slowing down when you eat can also improve your digestion and help you recognize when you are satisfied and/or full. Try to put your fork down between bites, chew your food well (15 to 20 times), and make each meal last at least 20 minutes.
Eat Food that Takes Work
When possible, eat a meal or snack that takes more effort to eat, such as seeded grapes, nuts with a shell, or an orange. The little bit of extra work naturally slows you down and helps keep you more engaged in the eating process.
Eat Before You Get too Hungry
When you get too hungry, you may be tempted to make impulsive food choices instead of more mindful selections. Practice planning healthy, flavorful meals and snacks that you can eat on a regular schedule so that you feel more satisfied throughout the day and less likely to binge or overeat.
Check Your Stress Level
Eating is a common response to stress. During times of stress, you may find yourself reaching for food (often higher calorie choices) even when you are not hungry. Try to deal with stress in other ways, like taking a walk, talking to a friend, writing out your feelings, or taking a few breaths.
Savor the Moment
Really pay attention to what your food tastes like. Is it salty, sweet, or spicy? Take the time to fully engage with the eating experience and notice the flavor, shape, and texture of each bite.
Final Thoughts on Mindful Eating
By approaching our meals in a more mindful way, we can experience improved control over our eating and enhance the overall enjoyment of our food. Mindful eating involves slowing down our eating and becoming more aware of how and what we are consuming at each meal.
Why not try out a few of these mindful eating tips at your very next meal. By practicing and becoming mindful eaters, we can become more present in our lives and rediscover the joy of food! We hope the tips you learned in this blog post help you make the most of your time. Follow us on Facebook for more tips like the ones found in this blog post.