You have no time, so everything you do seems to be like a sprint toward a finish line or another. It’s probably the same with your meals – they’re rushed and don’t sit that well with you. If you eat mindfully and are present during your meals is a much healthier option. Don’t know how to start? We'll give you a few tips right now!
If you and food don’t have that much time with each other, then you need to make it! For the sake of your health, you should try to improve your relationship with what you eat. The process of trying to eat mindfully could change you, your lifestyle, even your life, for the better.
Eating mindfully is like meditating, but with excellent food! You need to calm down, take things slowly and just stay in the present moment. Allowing yourself to be mindful, at least a few times a day helps you react more calmly and positively when you have any problems. It can give you a better outlook on life.
Mindful eating can help reduce inflammation, lower stress hormone levels, make you happier, shrink belly fat, improve your sleep, and keep your appetite within optimum levels. But what does eating mindfully actually mean?
5 steps to eat mindfully
1. Take it slowly
Modern life is very hectic and full of pressure to be somewhere else and do something else. We tend to cut corners so we can do as much as is expected of us. But don’t sacrifice your meals on the altar of efficiency. You need to slow down.
If you want to eat mindfully, then just spend a little bit more time – progressively – picking whatever you want to eat. Make informed decisions and don’t be that spontaneous. Whenever you eat, try to put your fork down between bites. Practice makes perfect! Start small and then grow from that. That way you won't hurry as much when you’re eating.
2. Take smaller bites
If you usually eat in a hurry, like there’s no food tomorrow, try to make the most of the meal you have in front of you, every time. Cut your food into smaller pieces – if it’s something which you can cut. Or try foods like corn, nuts, all kinds of berries, or grapes. You can eat them separately, one small piece at a time.
3. Truly taste and smell your food!
Do you really, honestly taste your food? Because sometimes, the “efficiency” of speedy eating can be as “tasty” as just swallowing one of those protein pills you sometimes see in sci-fi movies. That happens because we don’t realize how important being in the present is for any daily or routine activity.
Yes, you have had thousands of meals so far, but each one is different. Practice focusing on what you taste and smell. The two senses are connected, and part of the sensation of taste comes from your olfactory receivers.
4. Avoid the pitfalls of routine
To help you with being present while eating, try to experiment with your food! Eat diversely, add/subtract condiments and ingredients, try to make it as visually appealing as possible. You can have similar salads every night, but you can switch up the ingredients each time, so your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised.
Go for different textures and degrees of softness/crunchiness when it comes to ingredients. Try to create contrasts of sweet and sour, crispy and creamy, so that your teeth need to change the rhythm whenever chewing. You will notice that the best food, the one prepared with love and a bit of improvisation is a constant surprise. It has multiple layers. Some of them reveal themselves when the food first touches your mouth, some only sink in whenever you have finished chewing.
5. Unplug during meals
Do you usually eat with Netflix on, trying desperately to catch up with all the top-notch media content out there? The truth is you never will – there will always be more content. So just accept that and put the laptop or tablet down.
Put some music on and eat without any distractions, stop the notifications on your phone, just be there with your food and you will see that digestion will be smoother.
During this process, you will discover that observing your food and your reactions to it have many more benefits. You will start to notice when you are full. You will begin to realize when you are hungry before the hunger becomes overpowering and makes you want to eat everything in a 10-mile radius. And every meal becomes a celebration of your body and the nourishment it’s taking in.