Do you find yourself scarfing down your meal in record time? Are you still hungry after you eat? Do you eat when you aren’t hungry? If you answered yes to any of these questions take a few minutes to learn about mindful eating, often termed intuitive eating, and ways to improve overall eating habits.
Mindful eating has become a term that people are beginning to explore. Discussion about healthy eating tends to focus on WHAT we eat and much less attention is paid to HOW we eat. The latter of the two is equally important.
Here are three helpful tips for incorporating mindful eating:
1. Eat Slower – Eating is not a race. Your food will still be on the plate minutes later; there’s no need to scarf it down. We often get excited about our meal or feel like there is no time to eat and then still feel hungry when we finish a meal. You are more likely to notice when you are full if you take time to chew your food. The slower you chew, the quicker you get full and your food will digest easier. It’s a win-win!
2. Silence the Phone, Shut Off the TV—Savor the silence! We can all admit to times when we parked ourselves in front of the TV or were too focused on our phones and absentmindedly ate a meal or snack. Some days that may be what our bodies need, but this should not be a daily habit. Our daily lives are full of distractions so consider making your mealtimes a “no distraction zone.” Put electronics away and savor the time you have to yourself or those you are enjoying the meal with.
3. Savor Each Bite – Take a minute to think about your last meal. Do you remember it? Do you remember the flavors it presented? I bet many of us do not. When you practice mindful eating you may notice the extra crunch in your toast, the richness of your pesto or the texture of your salad. Simply taking the time to savor your food not only makes you appreciate it more, but also slows down your eating and increases digestion.
Bottom Line: Mindful eating does not have to feel like a chore or a hindrance. It is simply a dedication to valuing, recognizing and, above all, enjoying the food you eat every day.
Written by: Leigh Hullett, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern