The buzzwords “mindful” and “intuitive” eating are gaining popularity in the media, and you may be wondering what all the hype is about. Though they may sound a little like fads, these strategies are backed by a small but growing body of research. Mindful and intuitive eating may help you build a relationship with food and prevent unhealthy behaviors, like binge eating.
Specifically, mindful eating is about slowing down and tuning into the sensations of eating. Even though you may have a busy schedule, you’ve still got to eat. Maybe you don’t have time to commit to mindfully eating all your meals? Don’t worry, we can start small. Enter mindful snacking. Mindfully snacking can help you feel both satisfied and nourished in between your meetings, projects, or other activities.
Check out these tips to help you slow down and tune in during your snack.
- Rate your hunger. On a scale from one (starving) to ten (stuffed) assess where you are. If you are a four or below, you may want to consider a snack. This will help you distinguish hunger from boredom, while helping to prevent you from getting “hangry” or overeating at your next meal.
- Limit distractions. Silence your phone and turn your attention to your snack so you are present with your food. Have you ever sat in front of a tv and ate an entire bag of popcorn before you looked down? We’ve all been there, but limiting distractions can help prevent mindless eating.
- Take small bites. Make the most of your snack time by enjoying your food in smaller bites. After all, slow and steady wins the race!
- Savor your food. Use all of your senses to appreciate the flavor, texture, appearance, and aroma of your snack. You may notice flavors and textures that you never picked up on before.
- Check in midway. Rate your hunger again midway through your snack to determine if you’re satisfied or would like to continue snacking. There will be instances when you know you’re full and you want to keep eating. Checking in midway is one way to help prevent this.
The tips above are helpful in making your snack a more mindful experience. It’s important to recognize, however, that you aren’t a failure if you don’t eat mindfully every time. The most important part of mindful eating is to make eating a more enjoyable and nourishing experience. Try mindfully eating a few times a week and see how it affects your eating patterns and peace of mind. You might be surprised by what you find!