This article was written by Libby McLean

Counsellor, EAP Specialist, Coach and Trainer @ Positive MIND Consulting

When was the last time you genuinely enjoyed a mindful meal? A meal where you paused your thoughts and immersed yourself fully in the experience of eating?

Life is busy! Life can be chaotic, and we are often juggling a multitude of things in hope to squeeze everything in. What often transpires is rushed eating. Eating on the run after school drop off, eating at your desk to ‘save time’ or eating on the sofa whilst watching Netflix. It is OK if this is happening occasionally, however it should be the exception, not the rule.

Mindful eating makes you completely aware of the eating experience, in addition to your thoughts and feelings about food. When you are enjoying a meal mindfully, you are paying attention to the food; how it looks, how it smells, how it feels in your mouth, what flavours you can taste, what the different textures are, and whether you’re enjoying it or not. You are more likely to identify when you are full and have had enough, as you have taken the time to notice your hunger levels. Eating mindfully can allow us to develop a greater level of understanding on what foods nourish us and which foods help us to stay healthy and energised.

Mindful eating can:

– Enhance the pleasure of mealtime

– Reduce overeating

– Improve your psychological relationship with food

– Help free yourself from unhealthy food habits

– Influence wiser choices about what foods you eat

– Improve digestion

– Aid weight loss

Here are some simple steps to get started with enjoying your next meal more mindfully:

1. Sit down and unplug schedule mealtime and enjoy a break away from screens;

2. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly: placing cutlery down between mouthfuls, savouring flavours, noticing hunger levels;

3. Embrace your 5 senses: notice the aromas, feel the textures, admire sounds, savour the flavours and observe the colours of the food in front of you. Become aware and curious of your environment and dining atmosphere;

4. Eat only when you are hungry: being more aware of your bodily reactions and sensations can help you to curb binge eating or eating out of habit, rather than necessity;

5. Adopt an attitude of gratitude: acknowledge the time it took to create your meal, consider the ingredients and be thankful for the opportunity to be well nourished.

Wishing you every pleasure during your next meal!