Being mindful is all about paying attention. Eating mindfully is a way of developing a better relationship with what you eat and drink. It includes paying attention to what goes into each meal as well as the experience of eating itself. Just by putting extra thought into what you put into your mouth goes a long way toward better health.
Be mindful of ingredients
Becoming aware of the ingredients in menu items and packaged foods allows us to make better choices. When we know what our food and drink consist of, we can make a conscious effort to cut back on “bad” ingredients and instead opt for whole, clean foods.
That means reading the nutritional information on items. This is a must in terms of finding hidden ingredients such as added chemicals, preservatives and sugar. Vow to be mindful of what ingredients you are willing to put into your body and which ones you will stay away from.
Be mindful of balance
Mindfulness allows us to reach a point of balance in our lives. That means that we don’t deny ourselves treats all the time, but we do listen to our bodies and determine what we are really craving. It’s not always an ice cream bar; if you can ride out the craving for something you know you really shouldn’t be eating, oftentimes you will find you are not hungry at all or at least able to make a better choice.
Then again, a treat every now and then won’t hurt. If it’s someone’s birthday, go ahead and indulge in one small piece of cake – but no more than that. If you are the one baking a cake, send the leftovers home with someone else so you aren’t tempted. If you do have a party coming up, try looking up unique cocktail recipes for a signature drink at sites like the Alcohol Professor. Or find out how to make tasty dishes like chocolate fudge cake at sites such as www.tastemade.com.
Be mindful of cooking techniques
Mindfulness can also help improve our health in terms of the cooking techniques we use. We all know that preparing ingredients by steaming, broiling and serving food raw are best for our health and that deep frying, covering food with rich, cheesy sauces and grilling meat to a charred, blackened lump are not the best techniques. We also need to be mindful of preserving as much of the foods nutrition as possible and not dumping the water from steamed or boiled vegetables down the drain..
Be mindful of hunger signals
When you practice mindfulness you get more in tune with the signals your body is sending. Pay attention to when you are really hungry and only eat then. Also, be mindful of the cues your body is sending to tell you its full; eat slowly and allow enough time after a meal to feel full. When you are feeling slight hunger pangs, especially at night, before bedtime, try drinking a glass of water instead and see if that does the trick.
Be mindful of flavors
Lastly, mindfulness allows us to really taste what we are consuming. This helps to make the whole experience of eating a lot more satisfying. Savor the flavors and don’t mask them with creamy sauces and tons of salt.
Mindfulness works in many ways to help us eat healthier – and eat less. Make a commitment to start practicing mindfulness at every meal and see how it subtly changes the way you look and feel.