5 Tips to Create a More Mindful Eating Experience

MindfulEating

The experience of mindful eating is about so much more than food.

When you sit down to a meal, your environment and your company are almost as important to your enjoyment as the food. Where you are, who you’re with and what you’re doing (besides eating) all play important roles in your eating experience. In our go, go, go culture, it’s easy to lose sight of the non-food parts of eating, which can lead to problems down the road.

So many of us eat while distracted.

Eating while driving, eating while working, eating while watching TV– distracted eating has become the norm. Even if you’re sitting next to your husband/wife/girl/boy/friend, if you’re watching TV or on your Ipad, it’s pretty much like you’re eating alone.

When you eat while distracted, you’re missing out on huge pieces of the eating experience.  You’re not pay attention to where you are. You’re not paying attention to who you’re with and, most importantly, you’re not paying attention to the food that’s going into your mouth or your inner hunger and satisfaction cues. You eat what’s in front of you and think about it later, as opposed to thinking about it now and eating what your body is asking for.

Mindful eating is the opposite of distracted eating.

When you’re eating mindfully, you’re aware of the food you’re eating– savoring every bite. You’re aware of your company and of your surroundings.  You’re also more aware of your own inner body cues telling you when you’ve had enough, or when you need some more.

Here are 5 tips to create a more mindful eating experience so that you can tune into your inner body cues and truly enjoy your food.

1. Pick a location away from distraction.

Eat in the dining room or out on the porch– away from the coffee table and the television. Pick a place where eating and conversation are the only things you have to focus on.

2. Set a beautiful place.

When you’re using nice plates and napkins, you’re more likely to savor your eating experience than when you use plastic plates and paper towels (unless you’re outside:)) Find some place mats, plates and napkins with cool patterns or bright colors — these props can make any meal more special with very little effort.

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3. Plate your food like a photographer.

I always enjoy my meal more when it looks pretty on my plate. Take some time to arrange your food as if you were going to take a picture to blog/tweet/instagram to the world.  Just think about how often you find yourself drooling over the pictures in your favorite cookbook. Adding this extra care and mindfulness into your food preparation is a form of self-care: you deserve to eat beautiful, healthy food.

4. Chew.

Slow down and make sure to chew your food. The number one problem with distracted eating is that you tend to eat too fast. Making a point to really chew your food will slow down the meal and help your body catch up. When you eat slowly, your inner body cues come through more clearly.

5. Breathe between bites.

Take a moment between bites to enjoy your surroundings: your location away from distraction, your beautiful place setting and the healthy food on your plate. Take a breath and enjoy your company and contribute to the conversation.

The experience of mindful eating goes way beyond the food itself.

How do you create a more mindful eating experience for yourself?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

Feel like you could use some support to start enjoying your food more? Send me an email or sign up for a Nutrition Discovery Session  and we can come up with some strategies to help you feel more at ease.

2 Responses to 5 Tips to Create a More Mindful Eating Experience

  1. gold price July 19, 2013 at 6:39 AM #

    I keep a food journal because I like to know what’s going on (I have a tendency to eat on the go). The journal helps me keep my eating mindful–it helps me pay attention to every aspect of my eating experience.

  2. Paige Hurley July 20, 2013 at 12:52 PM #

    The process of feeling hungry, experiencing a body-wisdom-based desire for a certain type of food, eating the food, stopping when satisfied, and then going off to do something else without another thought is “normal eating”. This is completely analogous to what occurs when you have to pee. You sense your body’s need, you relieve yourself, and then you go back to what you were doing. In both cases, you read a physical signal, meet the physical need, and give it no more thought. That’s normal.

Thoughts? Feel free to comment below!

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