Eating healthy is eating healthy, right? The definition seems obvious enough. But the truth is that there’s more to it than that. For one thing, healthy eating can mean different things to different people. Plus, it’s not so easy for everyone. That’s why a new concept is gaining popularity among people who want to eat better: mindful eating. Mindful eating involves changing your relationship with food to eat healthier ultimately.
What is mindful eating?
Mindful eating stems from mindfulness, which is an intentional focus on one’s thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations in the present moment. So, as defined by Harvard University’s School of Public Health, mindful eating means using all of your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices you make.
Mindful eating encourages the eater to make choices that will be satisfying and nourishing to the body. But it also discourages judging eating behaviors, as everyone experiences and relates to food differently.
How does it work?
The goal of mindful eating is to produce a more enjoyable meal experience and an understanding of the eating environment you’re in. It works by being aware of the present moment of the experience your body and mind are having as you eat and paying attention to the chosen foods, internal and external sensations, and your responses to those sensations.
Mindful eating helps you to consider other parts of the meal besides the food itself: where the food came from, for example, and how it was prepared. You might also think about how your body feels during and after the meal or how the food choice is integrated with your local or global environment.
Mindful eating practices to try
Give these mindful eating practices a try:
- Savor your food. Chew thoroughly and consider how the food tastes. This practice helps slow down your eating and allows you to experience what you’re eating fully.
- Engage all your senses. Think about not just how the food tastes but what it looks and smells like and what the texture is like when eating.
- Honor your food. Take a moment to pause and recognize where the food came from and who prepared the meal.
- Eat without distractions. Turn off the TV and your phone to fully focus on your meal.
Ready to Give Mindful Eating a Try?
Mindful eating helps many people avoid overeating and eat healthier on the whole. Give it a try with your next meal!