Mindful eating is currently a very popular topic in nutrition and is characterized by slow, deliberate eating in which you take the time and focus to experience each bite of your meal. Practicing eating in this fashion eliminates the sometimes all-too-familiar experience of eating so fast that you don’t remember how much you ate or what it even tasted like—a surefire recipe for overconsuming calories.
SHAPE says a study just published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diabetics found that healthy-weight adults ate 88 fewer calories and felt fuller an hour later when pacing themselves. Mindful eating or even just eating slower has another little-known benefit: It optimizes your fat-loss hormones for digestion.
MindBodyGreen agrees that mindful eating will stop you from over eating, increase your enjoyment of food and subtle (healthy) flavors, improve your digestion, and help you be satisfied with less food.
Enjoy your meal & eat slower: Eating slowly doesn't have to mean taking it to extremes. Still, it's a good idea to remind yourself, and your family, that eating is not a race. Taking the time to savor and enjoy your food is one of the healthiest things you can do. You are more likely to notice when you are full, you'll chew your food more and hence digest it more easily, and you'll probably find yourself noticing flavors you might otherwise have missed.
Savor your food & flavor: The tanginess of a lemon, the spicyness of arugula, the crunch of a pizza crust — paying attention to the details of our food can be a great way to start eating mindfully. After all, when you eat on the go or wolf down your meals in five minutes, it can be hard to notice what you are even eating, let alone truly savor all the different sensations of eating it.
Know what you're ingesting: Mindfulness is really about rekindling a relationship with our food. From planting a veggie garden through baking bread to visiting a farmers market, many of the things we locavores have been preaching about for years are not just ways to cut our carbon foodprint, but also connect with the story behind our food. Even when you have no idea where the food you are eating has come from, try asking yourself some questions about the possibilities: Who grew this? How? Where did it come from? How did it get here? Chances are, you'll not only gain a deeper appreciation for your food, but you'll find your shopping habits changing in the process too.
- "Ask the Diet Doctor: The Ideal Eating Pace." Shape Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
- Chan, Amanda L. "Mindful Eating: 5 Easy Tips To Get Started." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 12 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Feb. 2014.
- "Benefits of Mindful Eating: 7 Tips to Get Started." MindBodyGreen. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2014