9 ways you can eat mindfully

These expert tips will help you eat more slowly and feel more satisfied.
Published 29 October, 2019

Chances are, you're no stranger to multi-tasking. You scroll through Instagram when you stand in line, watch TV while you fold laundry, and help with homework while you cook dinner. While these habits are fairly benign, multi-tasking while you eat can impact your weight loss. 

Think about your last couple of meals. What were you doing besides chewing?

Distractions can make it difficult to recognise when you're full. Mindful eating, or being fully present while eating, increases your awareness so you can consume more consciously, less automatically, and with more pleasure.

Appreciating how your food looks and tastes - plus the texture and smell - can affect the amount you eat. People who eat more mindfully eat less overall, and have a better sense of how much they've eaten compared to people who eat while distracted. What's more, they tend to weigh less than those who eat quickly. 

To be clear, mindful eating isn’t about finding the time and space to eat in absolute silence! It just helps you to slow down so you can recognise how much you've eaten and whether you've had enough. Ready to eat more mindfully? Start here.

9 ways to try mindful eating

1. Do away with distractions

Turn off the TV and put your phone out of reach. Then, clear the table and focus on your food. 

2. Set a meal space

Choose a place to eat that has few distractions: think the kitchen table vs. in front of the TV. Turn this into the place where you always eat. If you only eat at the kitchen table, you'll be less likely to think "snack time!" every time you settle down on, say, your couch.

3. Take a quiet moment

Before you begin eating, stop to reflect on your mood, the meal, your day... anything. Pausing for a moment ahead of your a meal can help you switch off automatic eating.

4. Take it all in 

How does the food look and smell? Anticipate that first taste. Once you begin to dig in, pay careful attention to how fast you eat, how much you eat, the flavours and textures of the foods you're eating and what you notice about them.

5. Downsize your bites

Taking smaller bites at a slower rate allows you really savour your food. 

6. Put down your fork

Setting your fork down between bites can help slow you down. 

7. Sip water between bites

Taking breaks to rehydrate clears your palate and makes your meal last longer. Plus, water's just plain good for you!

8. Pace yourself with the slowest eater

While eating with others, conversation can distract you from what and how much you’re eating. But hey, eating alone can be lonely. When dining with company, locate the slowest eater and go bite for bite to pace yourself. 

9. Reflect before refilling your plate

Give yourself some time before going for that second helping. If you're still hungry, have more. But if you just like the taste, try brushing your teeth or chewing some gum.