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How to Practice Mindful Eating: Helpful Tips To Improve Eating Habits

How to Practice Mindful Eating: Helpful Tips To Improve Eating Habits

If you do not know how to practice mindful eating now, it is never too late to start! For starters, what is mindful eating? Firstly, mindful eating is not a diet; rather, it is a practice that encourages people to take a step back from their busy schedules and savor both the flavors and moment in front of them. Additionally, mindful eating requires us to become more in tune with our body by listening to hunger cues instead of emotions.

Benefits of practicing mindful eating

We have all found ourselves spacing out while watching a show or movie. Suddenly, you realize that you’ve finished most of your snacks before you even got halfway though. It’s almost as if your hand was moving on its own. This a moment of mindless eating, which can also happen when you are bored, stressed, or just doing what other people around you are doing.

In contrast, mindful eating is the exact opposite. The benefits of thinking before you eat go further than helping you eat less. You will enjoy the taste of your food more but also satisfy your hunger. When you practice mindful eating with others, your conversations and relationships will grow stronger.

You may even feel emotionally or spiritually enriched after eating meals and appreciating the work that went into preparing them. These are all things you wouldn’t experience while mindlessly eating.

Mindful eating tips

Ideally, we should be mindful in all aspects of our lives. This includes work, play, and spending time with friends and family. Here are some tips on how to practice mindful eating:

Find a special place and time

There is a time and place for everything, and that includes meal times. Before, parents would tell their kids to come to the dinner table and leave their toys when it was time to eat. Nowadays, it’s common to see members of the family eating separate meals in their bedrooms, on the couch, or at their work desks.

Just as we should avoid using our phones or read in our beds, it is best to have a designated place to eat. Eating in a specific location makes it easier to distance yourself from your prior thoughts and activities and focus on your food.

how to practice mindful eating

Stop multitasking

In addition to eating at the right place and time, it is best to avoid using gadgets or watching television. This may be a hard habit to break, especially for busy individuals. Dedicating 15 to 30 minutes for a meal is not long and it can serve as a well-deserved physical and mental break from your hectic day.

If you are eating with friends, put your phones down and enjoy each other’s company—as well as the delicious food. Your memories will be much sweeter than any online update.

Prepare your own meals

Taking the practice of mindful eating a step further includes preparing your own meals. Again, if you are busy, this may seem like a hassle. But meal prepping is both a time-saver and budget-friendly in the long run.

There is a hidden power you get from being in control of things in your life. By selecting the ingredients, cooking, and eating your own meals, you can decide what goes into your body. You will notice that the act of preparing your own meals makes you enjoy them more. Additionally, you will notice yourself getting healthier over time.

Take it slow

Last, but not least, remember to savor the moment. Be thankful and appreciative of the food in front of you. You worked hard to earn the money for the food and now it is time to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Observing and smelling the aroma of your food before taking a bite helps your body initiate the digestive process. The brain lets your stomach know that food will be incoming soon. Your mouth may water a bit, as well.

Once you finally take a bite of the food, chew slowly and thoroughly. Take small sips and bites instead of wolfing down your food. This is not only better for digestion, but you can better appreciate the taste and textures of your food. After practicing mindful eating long enough, you won’t go back to eating the same way again.

Key takeaways

Learning how to practice mindful eating may be tough at first, but it is well worth the effort. Appreciating where our food comes from and how it is made makes us more aware of our impact on the world. In addition, mindful eating may be the secret key to becoming healthier when every fad diet you have tried as failed. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for more information on eating healthy.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat https://spectrum.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/3/171 Accessed January 29, 2021

8 steps to mindful eating https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/8-steps-to-mindful-eating Accessed January 29, 2021

Food and emotion https://www.researchgate.net/publication/11040898_Food_and_emotion Accessed January 29, 2021

Learning to eat intuitively: A qualitative exploration of the experience of mid-age women https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6360478/ Accessed January 29, 2021

Mindless eating: why we eat more than we think https://obssr.od.nih.gov/mindless-eating-eat-think/ Accessed January 29, 2021

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Medical reviewed by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
Written by Stephanie Nicole G. Nera, RPh, PharmD
Updated Feb 01
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