Multi-taskers are us! We juggle jobs, cooking, errands, doctors’ visits, dog walking, laundry…. Unfortunately, this means that we often pull a double shift at mealtimes, too. We grab (and devour) breakfast while commuting to the office; squeeze in a quick lunch while working at our desks, and wolf down dinner while watching TV with the family. Speed eating has an obvious downside: You’re more likely to overeat.1But you’re also missing out on the pure pleasures of tasting your food and relaxing over a meal.
Reclaim your attention
Think about your last couple of meals. Were you doing anything else while eating? Like, say, texting or checking Connect on the app? Looking at your smartphone can become a reflex to the point that you lose focus on your plate. Turn off the TV and the smartphone, clear the table, and focus on your food. Mindful eating means you are fully present. Your heart rate naturally slows and your breathing deepens; you’re physically calmer and better able to savour your meal.
The five steps in your Weekly can help you set yourself up for dining deliberately. Then consider these additional tactics to boost your mindfulness for mealtime.
When you’re in a hurry, you might just grab whatever’s convenient—and eat it with the same lack of focus. Deciding what to eat ahead of time eliminates this on-the-fly hazard. Stuck and need last-minute menu mojo? Check out our Starter Meals. You’ll find delicious options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, even snacks.
Don’t let more than four hours go by between meals, so you aren’t famished, and therefore prone to gobble your grub when you sit down to eat.
Take for a quiet moment
Before you dig in, stop to reflect—on your mood, the food, what you're grateful for, or something else contemplative. A mini-meditation before a meal can help you switch off automatic eating.
Set a time and place
Sit down to eat, preferably at a table (not your desk). A view out a window, or a place outside at a picnic table, helps create a pleasing vibe. Even if you have just 15 minutes to eat, you can make the most of those minutes.
Take it all in
Engage all your senses. How does the food look and smell? Anticipate that first taste and really savour each mouthful.
Downsize your bites
Eating a meal shouldn’t be a race to the finish line. Take smaller bites, put your fork down in between, chew each mouthful thoroughly (fibre-rich foods like apples and broccoli take longer to chew), and take a sip of water before lifting your fork again.
Avoid social sidetracks.
Dining out with family and friends is one of life’s pleasures. But laughter and chatter can distract you from what and how much you’re eating, so keep checking in with your plate (and your appetite).