When walking, walk. When eating, eat.
You look at your plate and promise yourself that you’d eat mindfully this time.
Slowly you pick your fork and take that first bite.
Oh yum! It’s so delicious!
You take another bite quickly.
And sooner or later (depending on your expertise), you start gulping food like always only to realize later that you were far from eating mindfully.
Mindful eating is tough.
If you know what is mindful eating and have ever tried it, you already know what I am talking about.
But it doesn’t have to be.
With some smart mindful eating strategies, you can incorporate this practice into your daily routine. After all, you can’t ignore all the benefits of mindful eating.
Today I bring you simple ways to practice mindful eating without getting carried away in the taste of your food.
These mindful eating tips will not only help you eat less but also feel fuller.
1. Know why are you eating
This is one of the basics of mindful eating practice. Before you eat, ask yourself, are you really hungry or simply feeling stressed or some other emotions?
If it’s the latter, just feel those emotions instead of suppressing them with food. Eating mindfully begins before you even put food on your plate.
2. Take three deep breaths
Before you begin eating, just take three deep breaths and be present in your surroundings. Relax your body and breathing and prepare yourself mentally to absorb all nutrients and get energy from the food you are about to eat.
3. Say thanks for the food
Think of the source of your food, farmers who grew it, people who played a role in manufacturing, packaging, and transportation.
Mentally thank them and the universe for your meal. You’ll be amazed by the effectiveness of this simple trick of mindful eating.
4. Don’t eat directly from container
Always take out your food onto a plate instead of eating directly from the container. You’ll have an accurate idea of how much you are eating but also what exactly are you eating. Noticing your food, its colors, texture, and aroma is one of the fundamental principles of mindful eating.
5. Use smaller plate
Eating mindfully becomes easier when there is less food on your plate. When you’ve more food, you’re more likely to eat mindlessly to finish it quickly. Using a smaller plate helps to eliminate this problem.
6. Know Your Food
As you look at your food into the plate, try to think about its origin. How it is grown, what kind of nutrients it has, how your body benefits from eating that food, and so on! Contemplating your food for few moments in this manner shifts your attention and you’re more likely to eat mindfully.
7. Observe your food carefully
Take in the appearance of your food completely. Notice different colors on your plate, smell the aroma, gently touch your food items, feel their texture with your fingers. This is the beginning of your main mindful eating practice.
8. Turn off your phone, TV, and laptop
Your phone, laptop, and television are number one enemies to your mindful eating routine. You simply cannot eat mindfully if you’re engaged with your favorite TV serial or having a chat on your smartphone. This is the best mindful eating tip anyone can give you!
9. Sit down for your meals
Instead of eating on your workstation or on the food counter of your canteen, always sit down for your meals. It may look like a small thing but you’ll be able to eat more mindfully sitting rather than standing.
10. Eat in complete silence
Eating in silence is the most effective mindful eating strategy you must follow if you want to eat more mindfully. Eliminate all distractions including your television before you even head to the kitchen to bring your food to the table.
11. Use Your Fork Upside Down
This is a smart mindful eating technique that will force you to slow down and pay attention to your food. Normally, when you use a fork, there is a lesser chance of spilling and a greater chance of you filling your mouth hurriedly. When you use it upside down, you tend to pay more attention and eat slowly. Try it!
12. Eat slowly, savor each bite
This is a basic principle of mindful eating- you eat slowly while paying attention to every sensation, both in your mouth and body and enjoying every bite of your food.
Once you form a habit of eating slowly, mindful eating will no longer be a chore for you.
13. Try to Identify ingredients
To pay more attention to your food, try to identify all ingredients as you chew it slowly and mindfully. Feel every taste- sweet, bitter, salty and see if you can figure out the source of that taste. This way, you will automatically slow down and eat more mindfully.
14. Put down your fork after every bite
You’d be surprised how difficult is to follow this particular tip, especially when you’re accustomed to eating at a super-fast pace. However, this is also the most useful technique to eat mindfully as you slow down by putting down your fork after every bite.
15. Chew every bite at least 25 times
Remember your grandma and parents who used to give this advice every time you tried to eat hastily. Yes, it doesn’t make sense to chew oatmeal for 25 times but for most food items, it can be done. It not only helps to improve digestion but also make you more mindful.
16. Breathe with awareness
Breathing mindfulness can be practiced independently as well as with any other activity. Practice focusing on your breath at regular intervals during your meal. It’ll help you come back to present moment and eat more mindfully.
17. Notice and feel every sensation
This is similar to identifying every ingredient in the meal. Get familiar with different sensations of flavors. Do not judge them to be sour or bitter. Accept them as they are without any judgment.
18. Be aware of emotions that arise
As you eat certain foods, you could feel certain emotions. For instance, dislike towards bitter food or something you don’t like or feeling of guilt as you gorge on potato chips and ice cream.
Just take a pause and observe every thought, feeling, and emotion that arises while eating. The very act of observance helps you shift your perspective and make you more mindful.
19. Use your non-dominant hand
This one is an extremely effective hack to eat more mindfully. Using your non-dominant hand forces you to pay attention and focus on food you’re eating. You cannot divert your attention to anything else apart from food.
20. Eat with chopsticks
Similar to using the non-dominant hand, chopstick makes you more careful and mindful of eating. It forces you to slow down and eat one small bite at a time with total attention.
21. Eat like a food critic
A food critic pays close attention to every detail of food, be it texture, taste, or aroma. Every time you sit down to eat, get yourself into the shoes of a food critic and eat like your job depended on it!
22. Drink Mindfully
Mindful eating does not only involve eating but also drinking. It can be your cup of morning Joe or a refreshing glass of juice in the evening, you can practice mindful drinking with anything you like!
23. Change Your Eating Environment
Regularly eating at one place is good for maintaining a routine. But it can also lead to automatic eating as you’re habitual of eating at that place. Switch places from time to time to be more aware and present with your food.
To Sum Up:
The above mindful eating tips are proven strategies to help you eat more mindfully. Apply these tactics to your eating schedule and soon you’ll begin to incorporate mindful eating into your routine.
Remember that mindful eating is not easy. We are so used to eating mindlessly, more in response to emotions than hunger, that it feels impossible to eat at that pace.
However, with time and practice, you can eat mindfully easily and reap all benefits of this beautiful practice.
Apart from this, a short mindfulness meditation every day can also help you in your mindful eating practice.
After all, even research has accepted that practicing mindfulness has significant benefits, like changes in brain structure with 8-week meditation.
So, adopt these tips for mindful eating and eat like a Buddha!
Share this article with your friends and family to spread this style of eating!
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