Mindfulness is a practice that deserves a place in every facet of your life.
If you don’t already know what it is, the super Zen team at Headspace defines mindfulness as, “The idea of learning how to be fully present and engaged in the moment, aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment.”
So what does that mean in terms of eating?
“According to a 2011 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American spends two-and-a-half hours a day eating, but more than half the time, we're doing something else, too. Because we're working, driving, reading, watching television, or fiddling with an electronic device, we're not fully aware of what we're eating,” writes Dr. Lilian Cheung for Harvard Health. “And this mindless eating—a lack of awareness of the food we're consuming—may be contributing to the national obesity epidemic and other health issues.”
Fortunately, we’ve got five suggestions for you to incorporate mindfulness into your eating routine that we *promise* won’t make you roll your eyes *too much.* In fact, these tactics are very simple and come straight from some of our favorite wellness experts.
Check ‘em out here:
Put your fork down between mouthfuls.
Often people eat unconsciously, quickly eating mouthful after mouthful without pausing between bites. Sometimes, people even take an additional mouthful before fully chewing and swallowing the previous one. This fast-paced style of eating is generally habitual.
The good news is that the brain has neuroplasticity, or the ability to form new neural pathways and create new habits. Intentionally putting your fork down between bites can help you develop a mindful eating habit. This mindfulness helps you develop awareness of what you’re doing, as you shift from unconscious behaviors to conscious behaviors. As you slow the pace of your eating, finishing one mouthful before taking the next one, you can fully experience the flavors and textures as you chew. Mindful eating doesn’t have to be complicated; all it takes is bringing awareness to one bite at a time.
Joy Rains, Mindfulness Author and Podcast Host, Joy Rains
Make meal time a distraction-free experience
We live in a world where technology, stress, time constraints, and life interfere with our times to nourish our bodies. When we put the focus back on making mealtime a priority once again, we are able to recognize how hungry and full we are and to truly understand what our bodies need, what they are craving, and how we can honor them.
Mindful Eating is key to overall mental, physical, and emotional health.
Gisela Bouvier, Registered Dietitian
Eat with your family
There are a number of external factors, such as the people with whom you are enjoying a meal, that play a critical role in your ability to eat mindfully. In fact, people are more likely to consider eating a healthy, well-rounded meal, as opposed to a quick pre-packaged snack, when eating with their family.
Think of ways to optimize your environment that will help you achieve this goal. For example, make others who are eating with you aware of your goal to eat mindfully. Invite them to try it, too. You may find that experiencing a meal together will help you all savor what you are eating and pay closer attention to how much you are eating.
Being mindful of the food you eat can promote better digestion, keep you full on less food, and influence wiser choices about what you eat. It can also help you free yourself from unhealthy habits around food and eating.
Don’t be afraid to go out to eat.
A lot of people associate eating out with being unhealthy, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Life should be enjoyed, and eating out is part of that enjoyment. Of course, the choices you make can mean the difference between an overly full stomach and a delightfully nourishing experience. To make the healthiest choices possible, I recommend the following:
- Select the restaurant, if possible.
- Scan the menu before leaving to have a general idea of what healthy options are available.
- Choose your meal before you get there. This will prevent you from being swayed by others’ decisions.
- Choose either an appetizer, dessert, or drink to have with your meal. Not all three.
Nick, Founder, Meal Prep On Fleek
Use all of your senses
One of my top tips for mindful eating is to use ALL of your senses while you are eating. Notice the colors, flavors, textures, smells, and any sounds you hear while eating or cooking.
The practice of engaging all of your senses is so beneficial, because it forces you to be in the present moment and appreciate what your food is offering to you. If you're focusing in, for example, on the smell of garlic when it hits the sauté pan, the crunch of a tangy coleslaw, or the sweetness of a perfectly ripe peach, it’s difficult to think of other things simultaneously. This helps you slow down while eating, which makes you more likely to hit that sweet spot of satiety before becoming overly full and uncomfortable. When you slow down, it’s easier to tune into your hunger and satiety cues.
On the other end of the spectrum, when you eat mindlessly, it can be easy to eat more than you realize, because your mind is elsewhere. Over time, this disconnects you from your body and robs you of receiving maximum pleasure from your food. This doesn't have to be all or nothing either. Setting small goals for yourself to practice using each of your senses while eating a few times a week is a great first step!
Kelly Wagner, Registered Dietitian, Nutriving
At the root of mindfulness is taking a moment for you. When you don’t have time for a sit down meal, you can still mindfully nourish your body with a quick cold-pressed functional shot. Incorporating KOR into your wellness routine can be the perfect way to celebrate the simple joy of taking care of yourself, inside and out.
Try each and every one of our flavors with our Remix Box and add a spark of meaning to your diet!