WHAT IS MINDFUL EATING?

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by Rebecca Lock

 

‘Mindful eating’ is simply about tuning in to our natural hunger and fullness signals. It’s not a diet plan or program, but just a way of regularly approaching our food choices that can help us make healthier decisions. It works by increasing our awareness of what, why and how much we want to eat, and helps us to choose foods that satisfy our genuine needs and wants.

 

Mindful eating has its roots in ancient Buddhist practice, but fear not – it’s as simple as it sounds. Just think of it as the opposite of ‘mindless eating’.

 

Try some of our favourite tips below to add mindfulness to your menu:

 

1. Eat slowly and chew well

This helps us to enjoy flavour and to improve digestion. It takes 20 minutes for food to reach the stomach, so eating slowly gives us time to recognise when we’re full.

 

2. Tune in

Before each meal, take a moment to consider how hungry you are and choose just enough food to satisfy that hunger. Aim to stop eating when you feel satisfied – but not too full or ‘stuffed’ – as this helps keep our portions in check.

 

It works by increasing our awareness of what, why and how much we want to eat, and helps us to choose foods that satisfy our genuine needs and wants.”

 

3. Drop the distractions 

Eating while watching TV or at your desk is definitely mindless eating and we tend to over-eat when we do this. Removing distractions can help us make more nutritious food choices, feel satisfied with what we’re eating and prevent over-indulgences.

 

4. Reboot your routine

Sometimes we eat out of routine, not hunger. Next time you reach for a mid-morning snack, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or if you’re just eating because it’s that time of day. If you’re not hungry, maybe a walk or a stretch is all you need to enjoy a break.

 

5. Enjoy a variety of foods every day

Good nutrition is all about balance. Of course you’re encouraged to eat mostly from the five core food groups (fruits, vegetables, grain foods, dairy foods or non-dairy alternatives and protein foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes), but enjoying a treat every now and again is perfectly fine too.

 

For more handy healthy eating tips and tasty recipes, visit nutritionaustralia.org

 

 

Rebecca Lock is an accredited practising dietitian at Nutrition Australia Victorian Division, which offers one-on-one consultations at the Carlton-based Nutrition Clinic. Rebecca is a passionate cook, and loves making delicious meals that not only taste great, but are full of goodness too.

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