Mindfulness involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment. You can practice mindfulness during any daily activity—including eating.
Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food. It also means getting rid of distractions like television or reading or working on your computer. Mindful eating can reduce your daily calorie intake. By paying attention to what you are putting into your mouth, you are more likely to make healthier food choices. And you will enjoy meals and snacks more fully.
If mindful eating is a new concept for you, start gradually. Eat one meal a day or week in a slower, more attentive manner. Here are some tips that may help you get started:
- Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
- Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
- Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
- Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from farm to the grocery to the cook.
- Take small bites and chew well.
- Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Do something else, like reading or going on a short walk.