5 Mindful Eating Techniques from a Dietitian
June 26, 2017
Mindful eating takes time to improve on. It means consciously being aware of your eating habits when you’re sitting down to a meal. This practice provides many benefits including better regulation of hunger and fullness cues, improved digestion and reduced bloating. In this article we take a look at 5 mindful eating techniques you can incorporate into your daily routine.
1. Choose filling foods
We want to focus mostly on a diet from nutrients rich whole foods from the five food groups as much as possible. Theres nothing wrong with eating processed and packaged foods here and there, however if these are a main focus of our diet they often leave us feeling hungry and not truly satisfied.
- Fruits – go for variety
- Vegetables – go for colour and dark green, leafy veg
- Meat alternatives such as tofu, tempeh and legumes (chickpeas, kidney beans) or meat, fish, seafood and poultry
- Grains – go for whole grains (wholegrain bread/pasta, brown/black/wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, oats)
You can read more about the five food groups here
2. Create an inviting environment
- Avoid distractions – make it a goal not to eat in front of the television, computer or even go on your phone.
- Create an appealing environment by setting the table nicely, add some flowers, candles or other decorations to give a pleasant ambiance.
- Sit down. This allows you to fully focus on your meal.
- Have meals at the table with family or friend. Have a conversation – by breaking up each bite with bouts of conversation this generally allows us to eat slower. This is one of the most effective mindful eating techniques as it allows time for our stomach to tell our brain that we are full before we have over-fed ourselves.
3. Slow down
- It takes approximately 15-20 minutes for food to reach our small intestines. When it does, chemical signals are released and sent to the brain to tell it that we’re full.
- When we eat too fast – like many of us do in our busy lives, our body does not have enough time to recognize these signals telling us we’re full and have had enough to eat – often causing us to eat more food than we actually need.
- Try chew your food 30-50 times per bite and aim for your meal to last a minimum of 20 minutes.
4. Pay attention to your body
- Only eat when you are hungry, but do not wait til your are famished.
- Pay attention to your body and listen to these signals.
- Regularly ask yourself “am i full”, and stop when you are.
5. Rethink the way you eat
- Try eating with chopsticks or your non-dominant hand – this will make you more aware of the way in which you are eating.
- Dish yourself a reasonable portion of food and keep the extra food away – only dishing more if you really need some.
- Use a smaller plate at meals
This blog was written by PNW Clinic founder Kiah Paetz. You can read more about Kiah and her philosophy on nutrition here. Did you enjoy our post on mindful eating techniques? You may enjoy our post on Breaking Free of The Dieting Cycle
Eating mindfully is difficult, we get it. Heal your relationship with food through 1:1 help with the dietitians at PNW Clinic. Meet our team here.