An increased use of technology has today’s children spending most of their time with gadgets than with their families. Experts think that this may be one of the reasons for a decline in social life in its true sense and a distinct disconnect with the food these children eat every day.
That is why it is essential to reinforce the importance of mindful eating and teach our children to approach food more mindfully.
Tips to Approach Food More Mindfully
While you may already be familiar with mindfulness techniques related to everyday life and parenting, have you heard of mindful eating?
Mindfulness is an approach that emphasizes on appreciating the present moment without dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. The same technique is incorporated into eating habits too, and though it may annoy others at the table if you chew each mouthful 25 times or more, it might prove beneficial to your overall health and well-being.
Signs that you may be eating mindlessly:
- You eat at random times and mostly alone
- You choose comfort foods over healthier options
- You don’t pay attention to the body’s signals and overeat
- You multitask while eating
- You rarely consider the source of the different foods you consume
These can be easily rectified by:
- Eating at set times, preferably with others
- Choosing nutritious foods over comfort foods
- Understanding the body’s needs and sticking to healthy portions
- Focusing only on eating
- Considering the source of different ingredients
Is there a benefit to becoming a mindful eater, you may ask? A study conducted on nearly 1,400 mindful eaters showed that they were all lighter, had a lower risk for eating disorders and experienced overall well-being, when compared to those who were not mindful eaters.
Tips for eating mindfully:
Consider the source of the food:
Each ingredient we use in our recipes has a story — from the farm to the shelves of your favorite supermarket, to the traditional recipes you use them in. Being aware of this story may help increase the connection you and your family feel with every dish on your table.
Be aware of what’s on your plate:
Avoiding distractions like smartphones or the television and trying to focus only the food that’s on your plate might help you be aware of what you’re eating and how much. Being mindful of the eating experience can also help you connect with your body’s needs and avoid overeating. You can, of course, share your meal with family and friends, who can enrich the experience of eating.
Enjoy the flavors:
Food is prepared with the intention of enjoying its flavors, but many of us tend to stuff our mouths with food because we are running late for something else. Avoid this rush by slowing down the eating process. Each bite should be an experience of the flavors of each ingredient.
Try to eat with others instead of eating alone:
Eating alone can often take away from the experience of eating good food and it could also increase the chances of eating unhealthy foods. While we all tend to snack alone, occasionally, making it a point to share your meal with someone can improve the overall experience.
Eat when you are hungry, not angry or sad:
Emotional eating is a real phenomenon where we tend to eat mostly unhealthy but comforting foods and experts say that it is better to observe your body for signals like a growling stomach or low energy instead of eating every time you feel angry or sad. This way you will feed your body’s needs efficiently.
Slow down and savor the food:
Many of us are forced to gulp down our breakfast or stuff our mouths only because we are running late for something more important. Remember to slow down when you eat, because only then can the brain and body be in sync. The stomach is slower in sending its signal of fullness, in comparison to the brain. So, eating slowly gives the stomach more time to grab the fullness signals from the brain and help you avoid overeating.
Just like mindfulness techniques, emphasizing the importance of taking a pause to refresh and reenergize, eating mindfully is essential for listening to and understanding the body’s needs effectively.
6 Ways to Practice Mindful Eating. (2018, June 05). Retrieved from https://www.mindful.org/6-ways-practice-mindful-eating/
O. (2017, December 14). 5 Easy Tips To Start Eating Mindfully. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/12/mindful-eating-tips_n_3941528.html