Mindfulness Eating at Social Gatherings
Mindful eating is the practice of eating both with attention and intention. In today’s world, we often eat on-the-go, with many distractions, and sometimes for reasons other than hunger. We eat because we are happy. We eat because we are sad. We eat because we are bored. We eat because food is in front of us. We eat because others are eating. Mindful eating is the practice of tuning in to your body and not only focusing on what you eat but why, when, and how you eat.
With a celebratory holiday around the corner, it is more important now than ever to be mindful with food. The 4th of July may present a whirlwind of activities and parties to sabotage your best healthy eating plans, but having strategies in place before the big event can keep you on track with your goals.
Try these tips to become a more mindful eater at your 4th of July BBQ:
- Use your senses to practice mindful eating. Appreciate the smell, presentation and taste of your food.
- Take mindful bites. Chew your food well, as doing so aids in digestion and delivery of nutrients to your body. Slowing down while you eat also allows helps you realize when you are full.
- Put your fork down between bites. This will also help slow the pace of your eating and give you time to appreciate your food and notice feelings of fullness.
Skip the chips, crackers and bread. Refined carbohydrates are the worst things you can eat because they offer little satisfaction, loads of calories and dangerous insulin spikes. BBQs are filled with wonderful food, so do yourself a favor and save your calories for the really good stuff.
You don’t have to eat your burger without a bun, but pass on the pointless chips and other snacks that lure you when you’re not thinking. If you’re feeling bored, grab a Frisbee instead.
- Take a hunger inventory. How hungry are you before you take your first bite on a scale of 1-10 and how hungry are you after you finish your last bite?
- Eat by your hunger and not your plate. Focus on finishing your food when you have reached a comfortable fullness (think satiated, not Thanksgiving stuffed).
- Use smaller plates. Doing so helps moderate portions. Try borrowing a plate from the kids table or the dessert tray. When you finish, wait 10 minutes before going back for seconds to give your body time to decide if it is full or not.