I am guilty of rushing my meals, not taking time to appreciate my food and not chewing enough! This blog post is therefore mainly a reminder for me, but I know I am not alone so I hope this gives some of you something to take away.
Mindfulness has become a hot topic recently which I think is great. Mindfulness colouring books, mindfulness meditation classes and mindfulness phone apps just to name a few. Living mindfully, however, also involves being present with our meals and eating in a mindful manner.
It is pretty common for people to be eating on the go, either in the car, at the office desk or in between meetings. We also often eat in a state of distraction, whether it is looking at social media, watching TV or worrying about past or present events.
When we are present and in the moment with our food, we gain more control, we are able to truly experience and enjoy our meal and we are less likely to overeat (yay, that means leftovers for lunch tomorrow!)
I used to break all the mindfulness eating rules, I used to eat in the car on the way to work, hardly chew my food and when I was sitting down to eat, I was often up out of the chair to move onto the next “job” before even finishing my last mouthful.
I am certainly no expert in this topic but I am slowly learning in order to help improve my own health and well being, especially my digestion.
Here are 5 tips for mindful eating which have helped me, I hope they are helpful for you too.
1. Sit down
When you are multi-tasking, you are less likely to appreciate your food and keep track of how much you are eating, therefore it is important to sit down to eat your meal (sitting in the car doesn’t count!)
2. Turn off screens
Looking at the TV or our phones is so distracting and makes it impossible to be present with our food. I used to check e-mails and facebook at breakfast time, but I am trying to make it a habit to have it on silent and away from the table during all mealtimes.
3. Serve out your portions
If you eat straight from the pot, container or bag, it is easy to over eat as you can’t see what you’re eating. Not only that, but how awesome is it when your meal is nicely served on a plate with colourful garnishes? I know that I automatically slow down and appreciate my meal much more when it is served with care and love.
4. Give gratitude
Before you start taking a bite, give gratitude for what is on your plate. Whether it is to the animal, the farmers, Mother Nature, the chef or who you are sharing your meal with. I know in my family, we have always thanked whoever cooked the meal, letting them know in particular what we love about the meal.
5. Put down your utensils and chew
One of the cues which helped me the most to ensure I chew and appreciate my food, has been putting my utensils down in between bites. Rather than having my fork loaded and ready to shove in another bite, I put it down and fully chew and swallow before putting more food on my fork. The recommended number of times to chew each mouthful is between 10-30 times, depending on the type of food you are eating.
If you have any other mindful eating strategies which have helped you, we would love to hear about them! Go to our social media pages and send us a comment.