Up close image of a young woman eating a sandwich

The trick to mindful eating

2182 views 1 min to read

With a little bit of practice these simple techniques will help you slow down at meal times. Here are 6 easy ways to eat with more awareness.

Why you should eat more mindfully

Mindless eating. We all do it: whether it’s chomping your way through an over-sized box of popcorn at the movies, polishing off a bag of chips in front of the telly or wondering where your wrap went (so quickly) after scoffing lunch at your desk.

When you eat without really thinking, you short-circuit the brain’s ‘I’m full’ signal. When you keep on eating, unaware of the huge amounts you’re putting away you are more likely to start gaining a few extra and unwanted kilos. 

What’s more, not making a focused connection with your food means you miss out on all the tasty joy that comes with the produce itself, like the ‘pepperyness’ of the rocket in your side salad, or the smooth creamy texture of a dark chocolate square.

One of the key culprits behind this phenomenon is multitasking. Which makes the solution rather simple: when you eat, do just that.

Instead, your goal is to be conscious of how you’re eating and what your stomach registers. When you’re in touch with what’s going on inside, you’ll know the exact moment you are physically satisfied rather than over full or stuffed.

6 ways to mindful eating

1. Sit down when eating

Even if it’s only for a snack. Turn the TV or laptop off and don’t read. Let the food be the sole centre of your attention.

2. Take two breaths before you eat

Pause to reflect on what you’re about to eat, being respectful of the dish in front of you and thankful for the food… This is the best step of the six to practice when you’re out or eating with others.

3. Chew each mouthful thoughtfully

Pay attention to each mouthful. Some health food advocates have suggested chewing at least 30 times per mouthful. Put your knife and fork down between bites.

4. If you’re a fast eater, try eating with chopsticks

Or alternately, eat “with your non-dominant hand to slow things down.

5. Plate up normal (not diet) proportions

If you deprive yourself, you could trigger mindless eating an hour or so after your meal!

6. Eat slowly and make the meal last at least 20 mins

Make a point of enjoying your meal, taking in its flavours and textures.

Here’s how a mindfulness expert does it

“This morning I held a fresh lemon in my hands. I ran my fingers over the bright yellow skin, noting all the little dimples. I lifted it to my nose and inhaled the delicious aroma. Then I placed it on a cutting board and sliced it in half. Picking up one of the pieces, I opened my mouth and squeezed a drop of fresh lemon juice onto the tip of my tongue.”