How often do you eat meals in front of the TV, a phone or an iPad? Do you eat on the run or in the car? Do you sometimes eat when you don’t feel hungry?
Why don’t you try mindful eating. It’s a way of slowing down, enjoying your meal and it can help you stay in control of what you are eating. In essence it’s about paying attention to the food you eat.
Here is a popular mindful eating exercise you can try at home. It should take around 3-4 minutes. You will need one item of food such as a grape.
1. Take the grape and hold it in your hand. Look at it closely and imagine that you’ve never seen an object like this before in your life.
2. Explore the grape. Let your eyes see every part of it, examining where the light shines off it, its shape, colour and any unique features.
3. What does it feel like? Turn the grape over between your fingers, exploring its texture, try doing it with your eyes closed if that enhances your sense of touch.
4. Smell the grape. Hold the grape under your nose and with each breath in, notice the fragrance and smell and any sensations that may be happening in your mouth or stomach.
5. Put the grape in your mouth with chewing. Think about the different movements your body has to do to get the grape in your mouth. Notice the sensations of having it in your mouth and explore it with your tongue.
6. Taste it. When you are ready, chew the grape. Then, very consciously, take a bite into it. What happens? Are there waves of taste and texture? Does the taste change as you continue to chew?
7. Swallow the grape. Focus on the sensation of swallowing. Is there a lingering taste? How do you feel physically and emotionally? Take a little while to think about the experience.
You can keep practising mindful eating with these tips.
- Eat when you are hungry
- Make time for your meals and eat without distractions (without phone, TV, computer, books)
- Take your time to chew your food, notice how it tastes, think about how it was prepared
- Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls
- Eat with family and friends when you can
- Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from eating nutritious food.