5 Easy Ways to Practice Mindful Eating
Our modern lives are very hectic, especially when it comes to meals. Slowing down and following these simple steps can help you feel more satisfied and relaxed when you eat.
1. Eat at a table
Having your own table to eat at helps your brain focus only on the food. When you’re sitting at your desk, on the couch, in the car, or in bed, it’s much easier to get distracted by other things.
2. Keep your electronics in another room
When you turn off distractions, you can better focus on the meal in front of you. It’s so easy to mindlessly scroll while eating or watching TV. When we do that, we’re not fully focused and may eat an entire meal without realizing it (I do, anyway!)
3. Pay Attention
Are you tired, relaxed, stressed, happy, excited, bored, or lonely? Don’t judge, just notice. Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, letting go of any stress that may have accumulated during the day, and come into the present moment. When we notice our feelings and know where we stand, we can know ourselves. Slow down to notice ourselves and our meal or snack.
4. Look and Smell
We eat with our eyes. Pay attention to the colors, textures, and beauty of the meal (even if it’s not that beautiful). The more colors we include in our meals, the more nutrients we consume (e.g. colorful salad with beet, peppers, nuts, etc.)
Also enjoy the aroma of the food. Our sense of smell is associated with nostalgia and is more primitive than other senses. We can remember chocolate cookies baked in the oven when we were a child, or fresh fish from the grill.
5. Slow Down
Take small bites, chew thoroughly, and go slowly. Put your fork or spoon down between bites. Taste each bite, notice the flavors. You may notice salty, sweet, spicy, umami, and bitter flavors. Pay attention to the texture and mouthfeel after a few bites, how it changes.
Also, it takes about 20 minutes for our brain to realize that our stomach is full. If we eat too quickly, we don’t realize we’re hungry and should stop eating.
Mindful eating takes practice. Over time, you’ll feel more satisfied and connected to yourself and your food.
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