Mindful eating encourages you to pay attention to what you are eating, heightening our awareness of pleasure and nourishment from our food. While the overall idea of mindful eating seems simple, to really master it takes gentle and consistent practice. Over time it can become a conscious habit, but realistically, we may fall in and out of it as staying present with eating can be a challenge in different situations.
Mindful eating often slows down the process of eating, so begin by taking a few mindful breaths to relax and become centered and present. Here are more mindful eating tips to get you started on the mindfulness path.
- Mindful Check-In
As mentioned, before a meal, bring awareness to your breathing. Take a breath, pause, and then notice any present thoughts or feelings, particularly in relation to the food you are about to eat. This can be brief moment or last up to a couple of minutes.
Take a few deep, relaxing breaths and pay attention to the movement of your breaths in and out. Slowly expand your awareness to include your whole body and notice without judgment what thoughts, feelings, and body sensations are present. Consider how these may influence your choices on how much, when, and what to eat, along with desires or cravings for food.
- Hunger & Fullness Levels
As you are mindfully checking-in, tune in to your level of physical hunger. Most of us enjoy food most when we have some to moderate hunger – when we are too hungry, we tend to eat fast and overeat.
Ask yourself “How hungry am I?” Listen to your body and determine whether it is physical hunger or something else. If it is the latter, ask yourself “What am I really hungry for?”
To understand your level of physical fullness, you should also ask yourself “How full am I?” Again, listen to the messages your body is sending you. Do what would most honor your body at the present moment.
- Reflect Upon Your Food
How did your food get to you? What went into making it and who/what were involved (people, sun, earth, water, farmers)? Think about the quality and sources of your food, and let the sense of appreciation or gratitude for your food wash over you.
Enjoy your food with all your senses:
- Feast your eyes on your food – visually appreciate the color, texture, and shape.
- Breathe in the aromas, and notice the nuances with both nostrils.
- Savor your food without chewing first – notice the flavor, texture, and sensations.
- As you chew your food, stay as present as possible with each bite and immerse yourself in the experience.
- Mindfully swallow when ready.
Notice any associations that arise, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Bask in pleasant associations or positive memories if you’ve like, while staying present with the full experience.
- Taste Mindfully
Savor the taste of your food fully, and pay attention to when the taste diminishes and your enjoyment lessens. This awareness is tool and will help you make better decisions about how much and how little to eat, as well as when to stop and when to eat more.
- Check In With Hunger & Fullness
Check in with hunger and fullness levels occasionally throughout the snack or meal. As you did before your meal, continue to do so throughout the meal.
When you begin mindful eating, you start a slow pace as you get accustomed to the different aspects. As you hone your attention skills, your mindful eating habits will become more natural, enabling you to eat mindfully at different paces, in different settings, and with different people.
Practice your mindful eating skills with us at the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli. We’re open weekdays 7:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 8:00-4:30pm. Dine in or have your food delivered via DoorDash or UberEATS.