Mindful eating is a practice of awareness that keeps you in tune with your hungry body. When you pay attention to internal and external hunger triggers throughout your day, your body is better able to recognize satiety (i.e., the sensation that you are full) when eating. That includes paying attention to how hungry you are before eating and how full you are getting while eating.
Try to avoid mindless eating, which is essentially eating without thinking about the meal or snack you are enjoying. When you engage in mindless eating you tend to focus on environmental or external cues to finish a meal, such as clean plates or empty packages. Mindless eating is typically a result of distractions, stress and food packaging – not hunger.
Tips and Tricks for Mindful Eating
- Slow down.
Find time to enjoy your meals, and avoid eating on the run. Try and savor each bite in your mouth before going in for another bite. A slower pace allows you to sense when you are full and stop eating.
- Enjoy your meals with family and friends.
Take time to enjoy company and connect with your friends and family during meal time.
- Make healthy choices easy.
Keep pre-cut vegetables and washed fruit readily available in the fridge. Place these items near the front, so they are the first thing you see when you open the fridge looking for a snack.
- Swap out your dishes.
Eat off smaller dinner plates and drink from long thin glasses. Smaller plates encourage you to serve yourself smaller portions and taller glasses push you to drink more water.
- Put leftovers away before eating.
Serve meals in the kitchen instead of at the dinner table then put leftovers away before eating. This trick will make you less likely to take seconds just because they are sitting in front of you.
- Turn off the TV.
Studies show that food is more satisfying when you are actually paying attention to it when eating.
If you’re looking to incorporate mindful eating into your healthy lifestyle, give me a call at 319-297-8637 or stop by my office in the Woodlands.
Brooke Hershberger, Meth-Wick Staff Dietitian