Before I ask this question I have a fair idea of what your answer will be – How many times in a week do you sit down and savor a meal? Maybe two to three? With the hectic pace of life many of us graze ‘on the hoof’ grabbing something quickly because we need fuel, rather than actually enjoying and being mindful of what we eat and how we eat it. However, the key to mindful eating really is quite simple.
In order to nourish our body properly we need to listen to it. Last year there has been a bit of a craze around eating clean with many celebrity chefs releasing cook books showing us how to do this. But it’s quite simple really by thinking about what you put into your body and how you do this, creates a more balanced you. Therefore the key to mindful eating – is to eat and savour nutritious food. It’s time to re-balance and take control of your body and mind.
Mindful eating requires you to re-think your food choices and slow down
A few more questions to consider – How many times have you eaten something and not really tasted it? How many new recipes have you tried in the last month? Are you aware of your daily snacking? How many times have you emotionally ate this month? Depending on your answers to these, will determine how mindful you currently are about your eating habits and how much you need to change. Becoming more mindful is not about a faddy diet or giving up the things you like – it’s about the experience of food. Think back to a meal that you have recently enjoyed and the sensations of the first mouthful. Because it was so delicious, I bet you didn’t want to rush it, you wanted it to last for as long as you can. Welcome to mindful eating.
The Key to Mindful Eating
- Make time to eat – at least twice a day make sure that you eat your meal at a table with no distractions (TV, devices etc). This will allow you to savor the flavours in your meal.
- Slow down – eat more slowly and chew each mouthful of food properly. By regularly putting your fork down between bites, your body will be able to digest better and tell you when it is comfortably full.
- Have a balanced meal – start to cook more of your meals from scratch. This is the only way that you know what exactly has gone into them. Experimenting with different flavours and textures will make sure that you have variety in your food, which means that you won’t get bored.
- Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit – they should form the basis of every meal. Try where possible to have a third to a half of your plate full of vegetables. Also make them your first choice for snacks.
- Stop and listen – to your body. Look at how you can satisfy your cravings in a healthy way or look to stop them altogether. When eating a meal stop when you are comfortably full that way you won’t over eat.
I believe mindful eating is achievable with a little planning. Take time this week to plan how you are going to start incorporating mindful eating into your daily routine. Changing any habit takes time, but if you commit to making one small change after another, before you know it, mindful eating becomes part of your everyday.
Here are a selection of books that will help you to cook delicious meals:
- Deliciously Ella Every Day: Simple recipes and fantastic food for a healthy way of life by Ella Woodward
- The art of eating well by Hemsley and Hemsley
- Cook. Nourish. Glow by Amelia Freer
- Eating Well Made Easy by Lorraine Pascale
- Fuel for life by Bear Grylls
- Lean in 15: 15 minute meals and workouts to keep you lean and healthy by Joe Wicks
Here are a selection of books around being mindful:
- The Book of Mindfulness: quotes, statements and ideas for peaceful and positive thinking by Lizzie Cornwall
- Being Mindful: finding happiness in you by Tracy Bryan
- Mindfulness for Everyday by Yvette Jane
- Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Prof Mark Williams
- The Mindfulness colouring book
- I am here now: A creative mindfulness guide and journal
What steps are you going to put in place to move to a more mindful way of eating?