A lot of nutrition advice centers on which foods to eat or which to limit. But some studies show that learning how to eat can be just as important as learning which foods to eat.
Mindful eating is one mealtime skill that can fit with any healthy eating style. This practice involves applying simple mindfulness techniques to the process of eating. In a very basic sense, mindful eating means eating slowly while noticing all the different sensory aspects of food (taste, texture, aroma, etc.). Research has shown that eating mindfully may help you to eat smaller portions and fewer calories, and reduce emotional eating. Practicing mindful eating can also help transition from a “good vs. bad” relationship with food to an “all foods fit” mentality.
Eating mindfully isn’t just helpful for limiting your intake of treats. This practice is meant to complement your personal, healthy eating style. Aim to meet your daily goals for fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole and enriched grains, and dairy, while enjoying each bite more mindfully.
Remember, no one and no diet is perfect. Busy lifestyles and hectic schedules can lure even the most seasoned nutrition experts into mindless eating traps from time to time. Though it’s not a cure for problematic eating behaviors, mindful eating is a helpful way to resist fad diets and to keep ourselves on track with health goals. Eating mindfully is not about perfection, but rather building a healthy relationship with all foods.
Use this checklist during meals and snacks to help get you started with a daily practice of mindful eating.