Mindful eating stems from the broader philosophy of mindfulness, a widespread, centuries-old practice used in many religions. Mindfulness is an intentional focus on one’s thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment. Mindfulness targets becoming more aware of, rather than reacting to, one’s situation and choices.
Eating mindfully means that you are using all your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices you make.
Mindful eating helps individuals to appreciate food more and make a better connection with it. Some studies also suggested that mindful eating might help support emotional eating and binge eating, promoting a healthier relationship with food, regulate appetite, aid digestion, and make eating an enjoyable and pleasurable experience.
Mindful eating isn’t about restricting yourself, it is about enjoying and appreciating food.
Slow down when eating: Chew your food well and take time to pause while you’re eating by putting your cutlery down between each mouthful. It may help you feel more relaxed and help you enjoy your eating experience. Slowing eating can allow your body to recognise when it is full.
Avoid distractions: Avoid eating while you’re on your laptop, phone, reading or watching TV so that you can relax and enjoy your food in the moment.
Reflect on your thoughts and feelings: Recognise when you are eating for reasons other than physical hunger. Sometimes emotions can trigger hunger and have a negative eating experience.
Plan and stick to regular mealtimes: A meal planner helps to eliminate the stress around grocery shopping and meal preparation. Also, consider eating at regular times throughout the day. This helps to regulate your levels of hunger which could impact positively on your eating behaviours and food choices.
Enjoy each mouthful: Food is more than just fuel. Take time to enjoy the aromas, the texture, and the flavours of your meal.
Avoid empty calories: Choose nutritious foods that are satisfying to you, give you energy and are nourishing to your body.
Avoid labelling foods: There aren’t ‘good’ or ‘bad’ foods, all can be part of a healthy diet if, we aim for variety and do not exceed our portion sizes.