Something to chew over . . . slowly
It’s all too easy when you get home to rummage around the fridge, wait for the ping of the microwave before flopping down on the sofa to watch TV and/or stare at your devices while munching away mindlessly. This, perhaps, is hardly surprising, says Amanda Capritto, a health/nutrition expert who writes for CNET : “Eating without any distractions seems so boring, and I'd go as far to say it's truly difficult,” she says. “There's just something undeniably comforting about rewatching episodes of your favourite sitcom, fork in hand.”
While it may be comforting, it’s not good for our health. “When you're distracted, you might not pay attention to how much you eat or how quickly you eat, and you might miss the fullness cue that signals your body is satisfied,” says Capritto. In other words, mindless eating can contribute to weight gain and associated health risks. “Conversely,” says Capritto, “paying attention to meals (or mindfully eating) has been linked to eating less later in the day.” Indeed, mindful eating not only makes us focus on the kind of food we're eating but also the quantity.
So, how to eat mindfully? Listen to your hunger cues before automatically indulging, and use a smaller plate. Don’t eat just because the food is there; adopt a structured eating schedule. Don’t rush your meals, slow down, and chew thoroughly between mouthfuls. And no devices at the table, and turn off the TV. Truly focus on the food itself, its smell, texture and taste. But above all, enjoy your food: if you focus on how your food tastes, it will allow you to appreciate the meal far more. While mindful eating is not quite as easy as it sounds, the premise, says Capritto, is pretty simple: “Just pay attention to your food.”