Mindful Eating: A Recipe for Wellness
Tuesday, January 16, 2024

The new year normally means it’s time for new wellness goals, resolutions to break old habits and vows to get rid of things that didn’t work the last 365 days. A consistent theme adopted around January is better eating leading to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle. At best, being mindful of what you eat, how you eat and when you eat will lead to great outcomes if done consistently. Here are some tips to help you kickstart the new year on a positive note:

Be Present

When it comes to mindful eating, being present is key. This means paying full attention to the food in front of you and savoring every bite. To achieve this, consider the following:

  • Tip #1: Create a peaceful eating environment by turning off distractions like phones, TVs and laptops. Sit at the table, focus on your meal and enjoy the moment. If others are dining with you, engage in conversations that enhance the dining experience.

Listen to Your Body

Your body knows when it's hungry or satisfied. One of the Blue Zones Power 9 Principles speaks of the 80% rule highlighting the importance of the 20% gap between feeling hungry and feeling full. Acknowledging that you’re content with how much you have eaten can help you avoid overeating. Try this tip:

  • Tip #2: Before going for seconds, take a moment to assess your hunger level. Are you truly hungry, or are you simply indulging because the food is delicious? Eat until you feel satisfied, not until you're stuffed.

Choose Mindful Portion Sizes

After the holiday season, we all recognize that we spent the last couple of months enjoying large portions of rich, calorie-laden dishes. Though the elaborate table spreads are tucked away until November, we can still enjoy these dishes while practicing portion control. Here's a tip to help you with this:

  • Tip #3: Use smaller plates and utensils to help control portion sizes. This will naturally limit the amount of food you consume without feeling deprived.

Slow Down

Eating slowly allows your body to process the signals of fullness more effectively. It also allows you to savor every bite.

  • Tip #4: Take your time to chew. Put your fork down between bites and engage in conversation with others at the table. This can help you naturally slow your eating pace.

Savor the Flavors

If you decide to indulge in a new dish for the new year, instead of mindlessly eating, relish the flavors and aromas.

  • Tip #5: Try to focus on the sensory experience of eating. Describe the flavors, textures and scents of your food to yourself and others at the table. This will enhance your appreciation for the meal.

Plan Ahead

Date night and dinner with friends or family can be just as enjoyable as any other experience if you take a moment to plan your approach. This tip can guide you:

  • Tip #6: Consider your food choices in advance and prioritize healthier options. If you know where you’re going ahead of time, look at the menu online. You can also suggest a location that will offer a wide range of menu options which may include a lighter menu section as well.

Practice Gratitude

Being grateful for the food you have and the people you're sharing it with can deepen your dining experience. Here's a tip for gratitude:

  • Tip #7: Begin your meals with a moment of gratitude. Reflect on the effort that went into preparing the food and the joy of being together with loved ones.

Mindful eating is not about deprivation but about creating a healthier and more fulfilling relationship with food. By following these tips, you can enjoy meals without compromising your well-being. Embrace the new foods, indulge wisely and cherish the moments shared around the experience.