Sometimes, it’s not what you eat, but how you eat. Our eating habits have become about convenience; we’re always on the go and so we grab what’s fast and easy. This sometimes leads to inhaling our food without a second thought. We may even eat out of boredom, loneliness or stress and not even know it! When we do this, it’s very easy to overeat and not pay attention to what is being consumed. When we eat without mindfulness, we don’t get to enjoy the pleasures of eating.
Of course, what we eat is important. Whole foods; lots of fruits veggies, nuts, lean protein and good oils like olive and avocado are a great start. However, attention and intention in our dining habits are equally important. Meals and snacks deserve your attention with consideration to time and place.
According to Christina Galiatsatos, dietitian at Pathway Genomics, “mindfulness is about being present throughout your day—enjoying each moment as it comes. Mindful eating should be distraction free – it doesn’t involve watching television or working on the computer. It is about the experience of eating.”
Some ways to do this are to plate your food—don’t eat out of bags or containers. Meals should be a ritual and should bring joy. Christina recommends, “try tidying up your table, set it with plates, cutlery and napkins that you love. You can light candles and play relaxing music for ambiance, even if you dine alone. Most of all, slow down and taste your food. Savor each bite and find pleasure in your meal.”
When you’re planning your meals, contrast meals with different textures, flavors and temperatures that you enjoy. For example, mix it up with crunchy veggies, savory, spicy, bitter, sour tastes and experiment with trying hot versus cold dishes. Make a commitment to experience each bite with appreciation, respect and gratitude for the foods you’ve carefully chosen and prepared. Whether it’s your mom’s pot roast or a delicious frozen yogurt you’re treating yourself to, enjoy and savor! This is mindful eating.