8 Mindful Eating Tips
The beauty of mindful eating is that not only can it help you lose weight (and keep it off), it also contributes to more enjoyment during meals and healthier food choices.
While it can seem challenging to modify your eating habits, there are many ways to incorporate more conscious eating into your day.
Here are eight mindful eating tips for making more health-conscious food choices.
Take smaller bites
In today’s world, the most common issue related to how we eat is that we all take too many big bites. By taking large bites, you eat too quickly and don’t have the time to truly enjoy your food. Next time you eat, mindfully reduce the size of your bites by a third and chew slowly and purposefully. This will help you to center your focus during meals.
Take one bite at a time
Not only should you take smaller bites, but you should also make an effort just to take one nibble at a time. For each bite, chew slowly and swallow before picking up the fork and knife for the next one. You will quickly find that the taste, temperature, crunch, textures, and flavors of the dish come to life. With each mindful eating experience, you may discover new taste elements and wonder how you ever ate differently before.
Slow down the fork
In addition to taking smaller bites, you also want to slow down how quickly you put food into your mouth. Every two to three bites set down your fork. The issue with eating fast is not only that it reduces your degree of satiety, but it also reduces your ability to listen to your body’s natural hunger cues. Slow down, focus, and stop when you are full.
Prior to eating, you may want to have a gulp of liquid, too. If this fluid is water or unsweetened tea (and it should be!), you can feel fuller without the added calories. Feeling somewhat fuller will slow down your eating and ensure a more mindful dining experience. In fact, we created a recipe for a special, metabolism-boosting detox water!
Stay focused and present
The worst thing you can do while eating is to be distracted by your phone, laptop, or television. When you are preoccupied with these devices, you are more likely to eat mindlessly. Instead, take your attention away from the screen, refrain from being distracted by thoughts of dessert, your next meal, or tomorrow’s to-do list. Instead, genuinely focus on the food and flavors that are in front of you at this moment.
Accurately assess your hunger level
That being said, no matter how focused and present you are, you need to accurately assess your hunger level before sitting down to a meal. This is especially crucial when eating out because you have less control over serving sizes. When your meal arrives, immediately ask for half of the portion to be boxed and taken home.
Choose food you need to work for
In other words, opt for peanuts and pistachios that are still in their shell. Purchase bananas and oranges that require you to peel them. Enjoy olives and cherries with the pits still intact. Having to do some work for your food is a surefire way of eating at a slower, more conscious pace.
Use your table and make it a real meal
In today’s fast-paced world, too many of us utilize our cars, couches, and desks as a makeshift dinner table. Give yourself 20-30 minutes to properly separate yourself from what you were previously doing and to enjoy your food, and move to the kitchen or dining room table.
Similarly, eating straight from a box or bag is a surefire way of forgetting what you are eating. Instead of this, grab a plate, measure out your portions, and sit down with your food.
Meditate on your food
The real joy of mindful eating is that it gives you the time to consciously think about the food you are consuming. During this time, take a few moments to consider where your food came from, what it initially looked like on the plant or in the ground, and who grew it and where. This simple process generates a sense of gratitude, a critical factor in mindful eating.
After following these tips, if you are still finding it challenging to practice mindful eating, opt to dine solo from time to time. Dining by yourself, without the distractions of others, will help you incorporate mindful eating practices.
Similarly, continually experimenting with and trying new food, cooking styles, and types of cuisine will help keep you excited and engaged with your food which, in turn, will make you more mindful of what you eat to nourish your body.