With the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life, sometimes it seems nearly impossible to eat intentionally (especially when some of your meals are on the go!). Nevertheless, research shows that mindful eating can lead to greater awareness of how and why you are eating. This enhanced awareness may reduce “mindless eating” and subsequently help with weight management. Mindful eating may even help you have a more satisfying eating experience. Here are 6 quick tips that you can use to start eating more mindfully.
1] Turn Off or Silence Your Devices
Even when eating from home, this can help minimize distractions. Those texts, tweets, emails, and posts will still be there once you’ve finished. Take the time to relax and enjoy your food without all the interruptions.
2] Take a Moment to Clear Your Head
Appreciate the food that’s in front of you. It takes a lot to prepare and produce the food you’re about to eat. Slow down your pace and pause for a moment of gratitude.
3] Use Your Senses
Mindful eating involves all 5 senses, so take note of the appearance, aroma, textures, flavors, and sounds of your food. You may notice more about the food than you ever have before!
4] Name the Flavors
As you eat your meal or snack, consider the 5 basic tastes and which you are experiencing. The 5 basic tastes are umami, bitter, sweet, salty, and sour. Sometimes foods contain more than one -- can you tell the difference?
5] Notice the Texture
Is the bite crunchy or creamy? Is it dry or moist? Paying attention to the texture of each bite you take may help make your eating experience more intentional. Maybe you’ll discover you prefer crunchy and dry over creamy and moist.
6] Set Down the Fork
In between bites, place your utensils down on your plate to help slow your pace. Mindful eating is an experience, not a race! This habit may help prevent overeating as well.
Mindful eating doesn't always require a quiet space at home. Use these tips to practice mindful eating anywhere, even on the go! Whether you’re eating a meal, enjoying a snack, or indulging in a treat, mindful eating can help make your eating experience more satisfying with every intentional bite.
Liz Sanders, MPH, RD, Director, Research and Partnerships at the IFIC Foundation, and Alyssa Ardolino, a dietetic intern at the University of Maryland, contributed to this content.