If you have never heard of mindful eating, think of a cross between eating and meditating. By slowing down at meal time, we can listen to our bodies and satisfy cravings. I know we have all eaten a sandwich before, finished and thought there was another half left so snacked to make up for the "lack" of food. This is exactly what we are trying to remedy with mindful eating. Being conscious with your food increases satisfaction for both the body and the brain!
Steps to Eating Mindfully:
1. Eliminate distractions, silence devices, turn off the TV.
2. Take 3 deep breaths, sit up straight, relax the shoulders.
3. Notice the smells.
4. Notice the textures.
5. Notice the flavors.
6. Take a bite, chew 20-30 times, notice how the sensation in the mouth changes.
6. Put your fork down between bites.
Use this scale to get familiar with your body's cues. It is important to stay within hungry and satisfied. When we feel ravenous it is easy to make poor food choices. Additionally, being stuffed can lead to blood sugar spikes.
Why Practice Mindful Eating?
1. Improved Digestion- when we chew, our food breaks into smaller pieces, making it easier on the stomach and intestines.
2. Improved Breakdown-The more time food spends in the mouth the more carbohydrates can breakdown from the saliva.
3. Absorption- chewing increases the absorption of many important minerals.
4. Connection- eliminating distractions allows us to form deeper connections with friends and family.
5. Reduced Stress- taking time to breathe and be quiet allows the mind to relax.
6. Increased Energy- when our food is broken down and absorbed properly, we have more nutrients to support energy production.
6. Fewer Cravings- fully engaging with a meal satisfies the brain in addition to the stomach. This reduces cravings and need for snacks later in the day.