In the last few years, the term “mindful eating” has become a buzzword in the health and wellness world as a way to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection, preparation, and eating. While some people associate mindful eating by choosing the right foods to fuel your body, mindful eating also means paying full attention to the experience of eating and drinking. For example, the practice might involve eating an orange slice in 10 sec, then eating it in 45 sec, and then taking a full 90 seconds to eat a slice. You might then take a step back and recall the difference you felt with each time limit. Did you notice a difference in taste? Sound? Emotion? The practice of mindful eating also involves taking time to evaluate our bodies and the experience of hunger. Where in the body do we feel hunger? Where do we feel satisfaction or fullness? If you haven’t tried the timed-eating experiment, try it out and reflect on your answers to some of these questions above. The practice of mindful eating can be a great way to tune into what our bodies may be trying to tell us.
While it is recommended to try these practices on a daily basis, the hustle and bustle of life (work, family, and friends, and our many other priorities) can make carving out this time to fully immerse yourself as you eat. As caretakers, it can be especially tough to find the time time to sit down and eat a long meal.
That is why we have provided some alternative ways to practice mindful eating when time may not allow for the full practice. Below, we have provided some quick tips and tricks (created by PsyD Christopher Willard) to practice Mindful Eating daily - even when time is limited.
- Listening to your body and stopping when full, instead of eating past full ignoring your body's signals.
- Eating when our bodies tell us to eat (i.e. stomach growling, low energy), instead of eating when emotions tell us to eat (i.e. sad, bored, lonely).
- Eating with others, at set times and places, instead of eating alone, at random times and places.
- Eating foods that are nutritionally healthy, instead of eating foods that are emotionally comforting.
- When eating, just eating, instead of eating and multitasking.
- Considering where food comes from, instead of considering a meal and its end product.