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Eat on a fancy plate!
I love this tip for turning an everyday meal into a celebration. Creating a colorful and appetizing plate of food and reveling in the joy of cooking and eating are all ways to practice mindful eating. Studies suggest that the health benefits of Mediterranean-style eating, which includes an abundance of vegetables, olive oil and seafood, are likely enhanced by the tendency of people in the region to enjoy and savor their food and to turn every meal into a celebration with friends and family.
No more multitasking while eating.
Many readers have discovered they have a habit of looking at their phones, reading, doing work or watching television while eating. While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your food while watching the Super Bowl or during family movie night, mindful eating is best achieved when your focus is on the meal.
“My biggest aha moment so far: slowing down and really being present while I eat,” shared a reader. “I put my phone or book elsewhere and just focus on the taste, smell, texture, look of my food. I enjoy the food so much more when I savor it!”
Put the fork down.
A number of readers shared this advice, noting that once they became more aware of their eating habits, they noticed that they had a tendency to scoop a new forkful of food before they even finished chewing. Learning to put the fork down between bites helped them focus on the taste and texture of their food, rather than the next bite. A consistent theme I heard from readers is that mindful eating also helped them to slow down at the dinner table, and made them realize how fast they had been gobbling down their food, a habit often learned in childhood.
Use smaller plates.
A number of readers have told us that using smaller dishes has helped them serve smaller portions and tune in to their body’s hunger and satiety signals. With smaller plates, seconds are still an option if you’re still hungry.
“American dinnerware is huge, and it’s really easy to fill the plate,” shared a reader. “Many of us were also trained by our parents to clean our plates, and so we don’t stop eating when we’re full.”
Never grocery shop while hungry.
Paying attention to hunger signals helped readers notice that it’s better not to shop for food while they’re hungry. Studies show that when people shop on an empty stomach, they don’t buy more food — they buy higher-calorie, less healthful food. This happens because our brains are more reactive to “rewarding” sweet and salty foods when we’re hungry.