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6 Mindful Eating Tips to Help You Enjoy Your Food

man eating a messy burger in a restaurant
You don't need a new diet or expensive kitchen gadgets to enjoy your food more. Mindful eating tips can take your meals to another level — all while helping you slay your nutrition goals!

by Autumn Jones

Whether you're eating a quick lunch between meetings or celebrating with loved ones over a home-cooked feast, mindful eating tips can add more joy, intention, and connection to your meal! This approach to eating doesn't require any special foods or equipment, and you don't need to be a Zen master to practice mindfulness. All you need is the willingness to stay in the moment and think before you eat!

As Harvard Health points out, "Mindfulness can help you fully enjoy a meal and the experience of eating — with moderation and restraint." In addition to a deep appreciation for what's on your plate, mindful eating can provide you with the opportunity to get in touch with what foods your body really wants and how much you need to feel full. It can also help you develop new eating habits to support your specific nutrition goals.

Before you grab a fork and knife and dive into dinner, consider these mindful eating tips that can elevate your dining experience!

1. Eliminate Distractions

A huge contributor to less mindful dining habits can be the tendency to eat while you watch TV, scroll on your phone, or try to complete another task. These distractions take your focus off of the food and can lead to overeating or finishing your meal and realizing you didn't even savor those snack morsels. Of course, there is one distraction that's allowed — including friends and loved ones to enjoy your meals with you when you can! But overall, to stay mindful, keep the spotlight where it should be: on the food!

2. Chew Slowly

Most mindful eating tips will encourage you to slow down — and with good reason! As Healthline explains, when you chew slowly, not only does it help with the digestion process, it also helps you gauge when you feel full. This means you'll be less likely to accidentally stuff yourself or end up with indigestion issues.

3. Take a Seat

When you're not intentional about carving out time to sit and eat, you can end up eating more than you want or need. Additionally, you may miss out on some of the sensory pleasure that food can give due to the added effort of standing!

4. Be Thankful

Expressing gratitude for your food — even if you just do so quietly to yourself — can help you develop a mindful way of eating. Consider how good it can feel to indulge in a meal that energizes you, nourishes your body, and delights your taste buds, and you may find yourself opting for foods that can provide those benefits more often!

5. Start Small

When you prepare your plate, start with smaller portions. Once you've finished your initial serving, don't jump up to scoop another heap of mashed potatoes. Instead, give yourself three to five minutes and then see how close to full you feel. If you find you're still hungry for more, continue eating in smaller amounts until your body feels satisfied!

6. Use Your Senses

Taste isn't the only sensory way to experience food — using other senses when you eat can be a fun and easy way to pursue mindful eating! Take a moment to appreciate how your food looks and take in its aroma before swallowing that first bite. Keeping your senses engaged can help you stay in the moment and remain thoughtful about what you're eating and how much of it your body needs.

Putting more intention into what you're consuming and how you're consuming it is what mindful eating is all about! Try adopting a few of these tips and see how your meal experiences can change. You'll likely discover that you enjoy your food more and feel more in control of what's going into your body!