10 tips to get more enjoyment out of your food
Do you consider yourself a “foodie”?
If so, do you really give your food the attention it deserves by eating it with full attention, or do you enjoy it so much that it’s gone in about 5 minutes flat and you’re left feeling stuffed and miserable?
Mindful eating is the ultimate foodie experience. It’s not about chewing your food 35 times or staring lovingly at each bite (though you can if you want to!). Mindful eating is about being present, as with all mindfulness so that you can get the full experience out of eating and thoroughly enjoy the food in front of you.
Mindful eating will also help you to better listen to your hunger and fullness cues as well as satisfaction levels so that you can begin to identify when you’ve had enough. This is a powerful tool to help those who tend to overeat.
In my practice, eating mindfully has been a proven technique to help those who tend to eat habitually, or emotionally. It’s a lot less likely that you’ll devourer that whole bag of chippies while sitting quietly at the table rather than sitting in front of the television.
So, if you consider yourself someone who eats “distractedly”, overeats or just loves food, here are 10 ways to get more satisfaction out of eating it (and help you achieve your health goals as well!).
- Set the atmosphere. Play some nice music, light a candle, get out the fancy plates, clear the clutter and prepare yourself for your dining experience.
- Eliminate distractions. Turn off the television and put away the smart phones, laptops and tablets and anything else that could potentially distract you from your eating experience.
- Before you dish up your meal, decide how much you’d like to eat. For example, if it is lunchtime and you know you have a presentation in the afternoon, it would be potentially helpful to eat a smaller amount. Or, maybe you know you’d like some food leftover for your lunch tomorrow and so you decide to serve up your lunch alongside your plate. Or, maybe you’ve decided that this is a special meal and so you’re going to enjoy that “stuffed” feeling. Setting this intention is also a part of the whole mindful eating experience.
- Sit down and take a few deep breaths to centre yourself and to make sure that you’re not eating in a state of anxiety or stress which could affect your hunger/fullness levels amongst other things. This would be a great time to say a quiet thank you, or as a family, for the meal that is in front of you.
- Look at your food. Appreciate the appearance, colours and textures. Decide which bite looks the best and start there (after all if you save the best for last – you may end up overeating simply because you really want that bite).
- Take a small bite. Smaller bites are going to taste better than larger ones as most of our taste buds are on our tongue. If you stuff it all in, most of the food is going to be smooshed up against the roof of your mouth, your teeth, and your cheeks and you’re missing out on some of that delicious flavour experience.
- Put your fork down so you can get the full experience from your food. If you’re too busy paying attention to scooping up your next bite, you’re going to miss out on all the flavours and textures of the food you’re actually eating. This is not an assembly line!
- Enjoy! While paying attention to that bite in your mouth, enjoy the experience, be thankful and pay attention to how it tastes and feels in your mouth.
- When you’re halfway through your meal, stop and turn inwards. Are you satisfied? Do you need more? Is your stomach starting to feel full already? Remember, you can always go back for more later.
- Finished? Push your plate in front of you or put it away, and say thanks! This will prevent picking unnecessarily and allow you to focus on the conversations and the experience around you.
Even if you only did a couple of these suggestions you’re doing yourself a wealth of good. Start with the ones that resonate with you, or maybe the easiest ones and continue to grow with your mindful experience.
Here’s my Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Porridge! To be eaten mindfully of course 😉
1/2 cup buckwheat (soaked overnight and drained)
1 cup water
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Scoop Chocolate CLP
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1-2 Squares 80% Dark chocolate
Bring the water to a boil with a pinch of salt and the buckwheat. Reduce heat and simmer on medium heat until water is reduced. Add the almond milk and continue to simmer until the liquid has reduced a little bit again (we don’t want it too dry). Remove from the heat and add the Clean Lean Protein and stir until combined. Place in a bowl and swirl through the peanut butter and drop in dark chocolate. Add coconut yogurt and some chocolate paleo cereal if desired.