Mindful eating is eating with the intention of caring for yourself while truly enjoying your food. It focuses on choosing food for nourishment and satisfaction rather than mindlessly munching because you’re bored or stressed. When you’re paying attention to what you eat and why you’re eating, you may be more likely to make healthier choices and be less likely to overeat. Here are some ways you can eat more mindfully:
Sit down at a table to eat. It can be your kitchen table, a table at a restaurant, a picnic table—it’s up to you!
Serve your food on a plate. Don’t eat it out of a container or box.
Feed yourself with your non-dominant hand. This can make eating more challenging, forcing you to pay closer attention.
Eat with chopsticks. This, too, can help you pay closer attention!
Turn off the TV and shut off the screens (this includes smartphones) while you eat.
Chew each bite at least 10 times. This can help you savor the food and prevents overeating as a result of eating too quickly.
Place your silverware on the table in between each bite. This can help you eat more slowly.
Eat your calories—don’t drink them. For example, drinking a glass of apple juice is not the same, nutritionally speaking, as eating an apple.
Ask yourself a few questions about the food while you eat and pause to think of the answers.
- What does the food taste like?
- Can you identify the ingredients?
- Do you think you could recreate the recipe?
Ask yourself a few questions about yourself while you eat. What am I feeling right now? Notice if you feel satisfied, hungry, angry, bored, guilty, or happy.
Listen to your body. Don’t be a victim of the “clean your plate” mantra – when you’ve eaten enough and feel satisfied, stop eating. You can always pack up leftovers to enjoy another time.
Here’s a challenge for you: Try one day of mindful eating! If this seems like too large of an undertaking right now, then just try eating one meal mindfully.