5 Tips for Mindful Eating
Ever watch TV with a bag of chips in hand? The next thing you know, half the bag is gone and you don’t even remember munching away. Distractions are a big reason we overeat, says Reshmi Srinath, MD, assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes, and bone disease at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of the Mount Sinai Weight and Metabolism Management Program in New York City.
Luckily, you can train yourself to focus on your food, which will help you eat a reasonable amount, says Barbara Lohse, PhD, RD, CDN, professor of health sciences and head of the Wegmans School of Health and Nutrition at Rochester Institute of Technology.
- Be mindful of chewing. “Chew every food carefully, up to 10 to 20 chews per bite,” says Srinath.
- Focus on how you feel. “Pay attention to yourself when you’re eating,” says Lohse. Focus on your food, how you feel, and how the food feels and tastes. Ask yourself, “Am I enjoying this? Do I feel satisfied?”
- Trust yourself. “Give yourself permission to eat the foods that you find satisfying,” says Lohse. This requires having the discipline to choose foods that are good for you, or eat just a little bit of the less healthy foods you enjoy. “Don’t deprive yourself when you are really hungry,” she says.
- Understand portions. If you struggle to put the fork down, knowing what makes for an appropriate portion size can help. “Having particular measuring cups can tell you what a quarter or half cup of cooked rice looks like,” Srinath says.
- Eat on schedule. “One of the biggest factors that can help people to not overeat is to have regular meals and snacks that you know you’re going to get,” says Lohse. You’re less likely to eat unhealthy foods between meetings or overeat at dinner if you didn’t skip lunch.