In March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month. I’ve been talking about launching a blog for almost a year, so this month seems like a fitting time to get the ball rolling. This year’s theme is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” which emphasizes the concept that you should think about how, when, why, and where you eat, not just what you eat. These are all important aspects of mindful eating, which encourages you to use your senses to help you choose foods that are both satisfying and nutritious. You should take the time to taste and enjoy what you are eating to develop a positive relationship with food. I believe this is a great message and work hard to practice mindful eating and encourage others to do so as well.
Here are some tips to get you started with practicing mindful eating:
- Learn to pay attention to your hunger signals. Only start eating when you are actually hungry not just because a craving hits.
- Avoid distractions while eating. Turn off the TV and computer, put away your phone, and focus on eating.
- Sit down at the table to eat. Avoid eating while driving in the car or on the run.
- Take the time to truly taste what you are eating. Let the food sit on your tongue before swallowing. Think about the flavor and texture the food provides. Is it smooth or creamy? Is it salty or sweet? Does the food taste good?
- Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive signals of fullness from your stomach. Put your utensils down occasionally or even between each bite to help slow your eating pace.
- Remember, you don’t need to finish everything on your plate. Stop eating when you feel satisfied, not overfull. Remind yourself that you can always eat again.
- Identify your eating triggers such as stress, boredom, or other emotions. Create plans to cope with these triggers.
We all lead very busy lives, and, as a result, we tend to eat mindlessly, often overeating or eating when we are not hungry. Although there is only a week left in the month, this is a great opportunity for you to take a few steps back and start to refocus your health goals. I hope these tips help you get started with practicing mindful eating, and I look forward to sharing more with you and getting to know you through this blog.