5 Tips for Mindful Eating: Have Your Dessert and ENJOY It, Too!

July 26, 2018

By Kate Van Horn, @kate.van.horn

I recently shared that I ALWAYS eat dessert, and with these warm summer months, it’s usually a bowl of Yasso! I choose not to place any “rules” or restrictions around food, and instead practice mindful eating.

Mindful and intuitive eating is something many of us strive to practice, but it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the journey and ways to get started.

First, practice mindfulness elsewhere.

Mindful eating isn’t the easiest habit, especially if you’ve spent years unknowingly allowing emotional eating, or mindless snacking to take place. I started a mindful practice in other areas of my life first. In my case, that was meditation. This allowed me to fully grasp what the feeling of presence WAS before taking it to the dinner table.

If mindfulness is something you’d like to prioritize, try emphasizing and becoming fulling aware of the present moment in the following situations.

  • Mindful Walks: Notice everything about the walk and your surroundings, rather than keeping your head buried in your phone! The wind hitting your cheek, the temperature, and the sounds you hear.
  • Meditation: Apps like Calm and Headspace are great resources for someone who’s just starting a meditation practice. Even sitting for 5-10 moments of silence in the morning or evenings can create a world of difference!

Next – shut off the electronics!

It’s difficult to be mindful (ok, impossible) if you’re surfing the web, watching the latest Netflix documentary or scrolling your IG feed AND eating. First step is shut everything off and put the phone down. Meal time is a form of self-care. Remember that you’re nourishing yourself, enjoying delicious foods you enjoy, and refueling yourself for the remainder of the day. No multitasking necessary!

Slow down and chew.

Yes, I just reminded you to chew your food. How often have you scarfed down a salad between meetings, or noticed you went through two slices of pizza in minutes, and are ready for a third?

Slowing down allows us to tune into our hunger and fullness cues, therefore becoming more aware of how much we truly wish to eat. If you’ve ever felt uncomfortably stuffed after a meal, this can be a result of eating too quickly and rushing to clear your plate.

Challenging yourself to put the fork down between bites and engage in conversation is a great way to slow your meals down. Also remember to chew your food completely. This will help breakdown the food, while producing the digestive enzymes in order to properly digest your meal.

Taste your food, and actually enjoy it.

Because why not savor our food?! One of the benefits of eating mindfully is we begin to allow ourselves the time to taste each flavor fully. Without the distractions of other devices or activities, we’re giving ourselves the time and attention to immerse ourselves in the flavors of what we’re eating.

For example, when enjoying my Yasso Party Animal or Coffee Brownie Break I do so as mindfully as possible. This allows me to enjoy my dessert fully and feel more satisfied!

Practice, practice, practice…with patience.

Remember that mindful eating is not always easy. Life happens, and our day to day routines will present odd situations and challenges. There will be times where we’re required to eat on the run or feed ourselves quickly. Not every meal can offer the ideal environment to truly eat mindfully so for that reason, remain patient. Practice mindful eating when you can and remember it’s just that…a practice rather than perfection!

There you have it! Five simple tips that can make mindfulness and mindful eating a less daunting practice! Try to remember that all foods can fit into a healthy lifestyle, if enjoyed with great intention and understanding that food is nourishment first, but food is also enjoyment, entertainment, and community as well.