Mindful eating is a great practice to begin as you start a new meal plan. It can help you learn to listen to the cues your body sends regarding your appetite. It will also allow you to enjoy your meals, while appreciating the great flavors and experiences brought by food.

So, what is mindful eating? Mindful eating is focusing not only on what we eat, but also on how, when, why, and where we eat. Have you ever sat down in front of a TV and mindlessly ate an entire bag of popcorn or chips without realizing it? Instead, take a step back and allow yourself time to enjoy your meals and snacks, which can help with weight loss. Mindful eating allows your brain to understand when you are full and prevent overeating, which will eliminate unnecessary and excess calories.

Here are some tips to help practice mindful eating:

  • Eat away from distractions. Turn off the TV, put away your cell phone and computer, and/or move away from your work desk.
  • Sit down at a table. Wake up 10 minutes earlier in order to make time to sit down for breakfast.
  • Eat slowly. Take small bites, chew your food well, put your fork down between each bite and try to identify each ingredient in your meal. Remind yourself that eating is not a race.
  • Switch hands. Use your non-dominant hand to slow down the pace.
  • Check in with your hunger. Did the last bite taste as good as the first? If not, you may not be hungry anymore.
  • Switch to smaller plates. This helps keep portion sizes in check.
  • Finally, be mindful of what you eat. Tune in to your craving and decide whether it will provide the nutrition your body needs and deserves.

Christina Lombardi, MS, RD

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