I’m super passionate about mindful eating. It’s a gastronomical game changer.
For me, it’s a way of regularly celebrating food, of acknowledging and appreciating how nurturing and delicious snacks and meals can be, and a beautiful way to turn inwards and check in with my body. It’s a conscious choice. It’s deliberate. And food tastes way better when we’re paying attention to it.
Here are six simple ways to eat mindfully…
1. Plan ahead
If you wait until you’re crazy with hunger and then dive into the pantry hoping to be nourished by the first thing you see, you’ll no doubt grab something that’s not what your body needs.
It sounds so obvious, but this can profoundly change your life: give some thought to your meals ahead of time. Know what’s on hand for a delicious snack and what’s going into each meal so you can choose consciously.
I scan the fridge each morning so I know what I have handy. That’s the beauty of working and parenting from home! I rarely meal plan on paper, but I plan it all in my head in the morning. And I always have a snack inventory in my head… because priorities.
2. Prepare with love
Put some time, effort and love into each meal. This will make cooking less of a chore and more of something to look forward to. Consider what you’re craving as well as what you need. Sing a little song. Do a little dance. Or just whip it up with a heart full of love. Whatever you’re feeling will be infused into the food, so you might as well choose happiness.
I love to put some jazz on, it helps me wiggle my hips, makes me smile and hum a tune. So even if I’m not in the mood to cook joyfully, it usually happens anyway.
3. Give thanks
You might want to give Spirit a shout out before you dig into your meal. Or maybe you want to express gratitude to God, the universe, the farmers, the cook, or the food itself. Taking a moment to express thanks – whatever way is comfortable for you – is scientifically proven to make digestion easier on your gut.
If you’re want to know my favourite blessing and the science behind giving thanks, have a read of this article.
As a family we sit down together every night for dinner. Before we dig in we thank the farmers, the angels and the cook. We then say five things we’re grateful for.
4. Use your senses
As you eat, use your senses. This makes every meal a miracle. Look at the range of colours, breathe in the delicious fragrance, listen to the crunch and mouth percussion as you chew, taste every possible flavour, and use your hands to touch some of the food which will expand your connection.
I try to encourage my son to eat with his senses. We talk about who crunches the loudest, how many colours we have and the best flavours.
5. Tune inwards
“How do I feel?” is such an important question to help you tune into your body. Knowing what food makes you feel energized, happy, satisfied, full, bloated, tired or moody is key to understanding food sensitivities. For one person it might be dairy that makes them unwell, for another, it might be table salt.
I’m sensitive to dairy, gluten, sugar and caffeine. And I’ve recently given up red meat. So I know a diet without any of these is the best kind of diet for me. That’s not to say I avoid them completely, but I’m mindful of what I choose (fresh cheese over processed, homemade pasta over bought, raw honey over sugar, and green tea over coffee).
6. Keep it calm
It’s easy for me to be mindful of what I’m eating when I’m eating alone in a café. No distractions (children, screens or otherwise) make for a magical experience. When I’m at home, I try to keep a gentle focus on my food even when the kids have gone nuts. Our dinner table is as calm as we can make it.
I turn off my phone and the TV before I start cooking, so we’re all having fun together. Hubby isn’t allowed to bring his phone to the table and my son almost always won’t watch any screens after dinner so his eyes are rested before bed… except the occasional movie night.
Eat well, sweet peeps.