Bits and Bites: Serve yourself – mindful eating

Tuesday, December 5, 2023 Bits and Bites: Serve yourself – mindful eating

Woman in yellow long sleeve shirt watching TV and eating

Written by Ieva Turke, dietic intern with Dining Services.

Serve Yourself is a program through Dining Services to teach you how to use food to your advantage. Nutrition is a tool to help you achieve a variety of goals. For example, you can utilize food to give you the energy to carry you through long study sessions, achieve your fitness goals, or prevent chronic disease. Serve Yourself provides general nutrition advice on a variety of topics. Every month we explore different ways to utilize nutrition to initiate a healthful dietary pattern. This month, we will discuss the importance of mindful eating to help empower you to make healthier and more conscious food choices.

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating is the practice of aligning with your body's hunger, fullness, and taste satisfaction cues without judgment. Eating mindfully is like a superpower for your food choices. It's about tuning into your body's cues without becoming overly critical. Think of it as the ultimate food appreciation club – you savor every bite, fully embrace the flavors and textures, and experience a stress-free dining journey.

Why practice mindful eating?

Mindful eating can be your ticket to a healthier and happier you. Traditional diets often come with a side of restrictions and guilt, while with mindful eating, you're the boss of your plate, enjoying increased control and empowerment over your food choices. You can improve your body image, boost your overall well-being, and make healthier food choices. It's like having your cake and eating it, too, but without the guilt.

Discovering five mindful eating tips:

1. Slow down and listen to your body

Savor each bite, chew slowly, and pause occasionally to appreciate your food's intricate flavors and textures. This mindful pace lets you stay connected with your body's cues, helping you make well-informed choices during your meal.

2. Minimize distractions

Your smartphone can wait – it's mealtime. Minimize distractions by putting away your screens and focusing solely on the masterpiece on your plate. This practice deepens your connection with the meal and immerses you in the present moment, where every bite matters.

3. Engage all senses

Engage all your senses by appreciating the visual appeal, textures, smells, tastes, and even the sounds of your food. This multisensory experience enhances your connection with the meal and elevates your satisfaction.

4. Non-judgmental awareness

In the world of mindful eating, there's no room for food criticism. Whether you like, dislike, or feel neutral about a food, focus on recognizing these feelings without labeling them as "good" or "bad." This creates a compassionate relationship with food, empowering you to choose based on preference rather than guilt or external pressures.

5. Reflect on eating habits

Develop awareness of your eating habits by reflecting on how and why you eat. Take a moment to ponder the motivations behind your food choices – is it stress, sadness, boredom, or something else? This self-awareness will help you to make more thoughtful choices.

By embracing these gems of mindful eating, you're on a journey towards healthier food choices that can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and transform your meals into delightful experiences, enhancing your body image and overall well-being. Mindful eating sets you free from the constraints of traditional "eat this, not that" rules, showing you that a variety of foods can harmoniously coexist in a healthy diet. It's all about listening to what your body craves, bringing more joy and health into your daily life. So, let your taste buds engage in culinary adventures they truly deserve.

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