Eat, Live

Using Mindful Eating to Savor Each Bite During the Holidays

This past Sunday evening I joined Verde, a local restaurant chain, in their #fansgiving fall event.  It was such a fun night.  We talked, laughed, ate.  All the good things wrapped into one evening.  Verde is one of my absolute favorite spots to eat in town (seriously mulling over which salad I’m going to grab for lunch as I type this).  They have fresh ingredients, source from local farmers and small businesses and create excellent salads.  

During the fansgiving event several bloggers shared some recipes and tips for keeping your holidays a little healthier.  My contribution was a segment on mindful eating.  And while nothing is like walking through the steps together, I wanted to share with you several of the tips I gave for creating a more mindful meal experiences during all the hustle and bustle.

Eliminate Clutter and Distraction

Before you can be mindful, you have to decrease the chance of things catching your attention.  Turn off the tv.  Flip your phone screen down.  Other less obvious things include keeping a tidy home.  If the place where you’re enjoying food is cluttered, so to, will your mind be.

Slow Down with Deep Breathing

Take at least three deep belly breaths before you begin.  This allows your body to focus on what’s about to happen and prime itself to ingest all the nutrients!

Notice Sights and Surroundings

What does the food look like?  Is the sight alone appealing? Is the plate it’s on pretty?  Notice everything you can about the food just using your vision.

Take in the Aroma

Close your eyes and lift the food to your nose.  Can you identify the ingredients?  Does the smell take you back to a certain place or memory?  What will this food taste like?

Enjoy One Bite at a Time

Slowly take your first bite, lay your fork town, and chew with your eyes closed.

Notice Changes in Taste and Texture

As you chew where do you taste the most flavor?  The side of your mouth?  The back near your throat?  We often miss out on many flavor notes because we’re cramming copious amounts into our bodies as fast as possible.

As for texture, how does it change as you chew?  Do you like the way it changes, or no?  Is there a combo of food that just works? (i.e. the perfect bite of chili has just the right ratio of meat to sweet potatoes)

Pause Before Your Next Bite

This is the most underutilized tool for mindful eating.  Don’t disrespect the food in your mouth by quickly focusing your attention on what your next bite will be.  Often we will find ourselves quickly chewing with a full fork halfway to our mouths ready to shovel as soon as possible.  But now, P A U S E.

You will be encountering so many wonderful foods over the next several weeks.  It would truly be a shame if you ate all these bites without the full experience mindful eating brings.  However, it is near impossible to eat mindfully all the time.  That’s why my challenge for you is to eat mindfully for one meal or snack each day.  Don’t worry about the other meals, just focus on the once single time you’ve chosen to just be with your food.

After you try this come back and let me know how it went.  Sharing our experiences with mindful practices is a great way to learn from one another!

Adrienne is a Certified Exercise Physiologist and holds a masters degree in Exercise Science. Her passion is to help people find a healthy balance between #IIFYM and #YOLO.

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