5 SIMPLE TIPS FOR MINDFUL EATING
There are so many diets right now that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, discouraged, or even bombarded with conflicting information. Not to mention all the health trends that can leave you feeling like your diet must be awful if you aren’t drinking bone broth or eating kale at every meal. For those of you who have been following my blog for a while you are well aware that I’m not one for fads or extremes when it comes to eating. I like all foods, eat all foods, and enjoy all foods — in healthy moderation of course!
If I had to pick one eating habit for everyone to develop it would be to eat more mindfully. When we take time to think about what foods we eat, how we prepare it, and how we choose to eat it we will naturally start to make better choices. Thinking about the why, what, where, when, and how much of food is the first step in forming a healthy relationship with food, which in turn may improve many of your current diet-related concerns (weight loss, cravings, lack of energy, cholesterol levels, etc…).
To help you gain control over your food choices and over your health, I’m sharing five suggestions to help you increase awareness of what you put in your mouth.
Measure your food.
This simple trick can save you hundreds of calories a day. It may take an extra minute, but you’ll be surprised to see the results! I love using this MeasureGlass because it helps me control my intake of calorie-containing beverages (mostly just milk, very occasionally juice). We have large glasses that hold much more than 1 cup, making over-consumption of calories very easy. When you can measure right as you pour it leaves no room for extra calories to sneak in.
Set your fork down in between bites.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — slow down with your food! When you chew each bite put your fork down and actually enjoy what’s in your mouth. You can wait until you’ve swallowed your food before you get your next bite ready. You may even notice that you’re full before your food is gone (AKA the time to put your fork down for good).
Sit at the table (without distractions).
Sitting at the table forces you to think about your food. Keep your phones, laptops, iPads, books (anyone still reading those?), and anything else that distracts you away from the table. Think about what you’re eating and pace yourself. Enjoy the food and take TIME to eat it! When we avoid eating while walking, driving, or sitting on the couch we reduce the likelihood of mindless eating.
Use smaller plates and bowls.
The same amount of food will look very different depending on the size of plate or bowl you serve it on. A smaller plate makes your portions look bigger and is another simple way to limit how much food you’re placing in front of you. If you eat slowly enough and choose appetite-suppressing foods, chances are you’ll be full at the end of your meal.
Pay attention to your hunger scale.
The hunger scale goes from 1-10 with 1 being completely starving and 10 being “Thanksgiving full.” Avoiding both extremes keeps you in the mindful zone. Try to stay between a 3 and a 7. This helps you avoid eating too much and going too long without food (which usually results in eating too much).
These are all simple tricks that can be implemented by anyone, anywhere. Give it a try this week and let me know how it goes!
Does anyone practice any of these tips already? What helps you be more mindful with your eating habits?