Take a moment to slow down, take the time, and enjoy your food once more with our guide to mindful eating.
We live in a society that is constantly in a rush. Fast food, a quick bite, same-day delivery, everything in an instant. So it’s no wonder that, when it comes to eating, we seem to spend more time eating at our desks, behind the wheel of the car, or whilst sitting in front of the TV. Dinner is rarely something to be savoured but a means to simply stop us from feeling hungry.
Think about your daily routine - how often do you grab something quick and eat your lunch on the go? How often do you find yourself skipping a meal because you’re too busy? Or how about those moments when you’re really hungry with no time to prepare anything and you head straight for the biscuit tin? The reality is, we all need to eat! Eating is integral to our day-to-day lives but it’s so easy, as with everything else in life, to switch to autopilot and mindlessly eat.
It’s time to slow. down. Enter, mindful eating. The practice of paying attention to your food, without judgement, focusing on the present moment and an awareness of your senses. Not only does eating mindfully encourage us to eat a healthier and more balanced diet, but it helps to aid our digestion and teaches us how to have a much healthier relationship with food.
Mindful eating is about ensuring that the food we eat thoroughly nourishes us in the best way. There will always be times when a cup of tea and a biscuit is what’s needed and by learning to eat mindfully you will start to intuitively tune into what your body actually needs.
7 Steps to Mindful Eating
Whatever you’re eating, it’s important to be all there. Invite your senses to the table and take time to really focus on what is in front of you.Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin!
- Take a moment before you start to eat. Ensure you’re unplugged from the TV, emails, social media - this time is purely about focusing on you and your food
- Look at the plate in front of you before diving in - it’s always important to exercise a little gratitude
- Become aware of how you’re sitting - are you comfortable, are you sitting up straight?
- Take note of any sounds around you and your surroundings. If you’re eating with company then just take a moment and if you’re eating alone. acknowledge any sounds but tune them out and tune into your hunger. This will help you decipher if you’re eating out of boredom or because your body really needs to eat!
- How does the food you’re about to eat smell? What flavours can you smell before you’ve even taken a bite? What colours can you see?
- Take a bite, chew slowly and really savour the food - how does it taste?
- Finally, once you’ve finished your food, take a moment to press pause. Notice how you feel and don’t immediately rush to get back to your day.
Obviously, it’s not realistic to eat like this for every meal or every day but incorporating some of these mindful eating techniques or aiming to enjoy a few mindful meals each week can go a long way to helping you focus more on what you’re eating, how you’re eating. And really getting back to some enjoyment with eating.
Eating Your Feelings
Eating more mindfully can actually help us to look at the links between food and feelings. Whether you undereat or overeat, there are emotions tied up in what we eat, when and why. This is not an exercise in looking at foods that society likes to label good or bad nor is it about treats or food that feels well-earned but looking at foods for positive nourishment.
Remember, it’s OK to eat things, in moderation and on the days where moderation goes out the window, that is OK too - a sugary snack here and there is no big deal. But, looking at ways to become more aware of what we eat and ask ourselves the question - does it nourish me?
When you need a pick-me-up. In need of a sugar fix? Try these soft, moist banana bread muffins, a great way to start the day - complete with a delicious cup of tea.
Good Mood Food
Eat with your mood - feeling hormonal, tired? Different times of the month, especially for women, calls for different types of foods. Foods high in omega-3, good fats, or energy-boosting foods, eating for your wellbeing is essential.
Think about how you feel after eating certain types of food. Sometimes, all we really need is a slice of cake and a cup of tea, other times, our bodies are crying out for a big, fat salad, with loads of extra goodness! Mindful eating is not about radical diets, detoxes, or anything of that kind, but nourishing food that is good for mind and body and soul.
In need of an energy boost? Try these vegan raw energy balls.
Mindful eating actually encourages us to listen to our bodies a lot more! They have a lot to tell us and often we’re too busy to notice - and they will eventually shout even louder through illness, pain or sheer exhaustion. Listen to your body - if you’re feeling tired, do you need more water? Would a delicious salad with grains be better for you right now than a shop-bought sandwich?
When you need to relax and feel comforted. Warm and comforting? Try an aromatic gingery and butternut squash soup … just look at the colour!
Set Yourself Up
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail - use reusable beeswax wraps and plastic containers to store your food and prep ahead of time so you’re not tempted to grab something quick and lacking in nourishment.
Take a little extra time to prepare your meals, whether you’re taking them for lunch on the go or you’re prepping dinner, the more that goes into it your food the more you’ll enjoy it and savour it.
If you need a little inspiration check out our Recipes For Drinks, Baked Goods & Nutritious Meals