how to eat mindfully

by team nuut

it’s not easy to change a lifetime of eating habits, but mindfulness can help with transformative results like better digestion, less bloating and encouraging more nutritious food choices. It can also help you free yourself from unhealthy habits around food and eating. 

nuut grilled expert carly barlow from the metabolic dietitian on the what’s, whys and how’s for making the change. 

carly, why is it important to be mindful about our food choices?

carly barlow (cb): eating impulsively can lead to poor choices and overeating, so it's important to eat mindfully and be in the present and connected to our food choices. the signals sent from our stomach to our brain via a nerve called the vagus nerve tell us we are full, which prevents us from overeating and making poor food choices. these signals take time (at least 20 minutes), so it is vital to slow down and be mindful when dining to allow the body to 'register' those feelings of satiety. 

why do we crave naughty food?

cb: our brains are designed to seek out pleasurable foods, so mindless eating often results in a high intake of processed and sugary foods. when you mindlessly reach for a snack without conscious thought, you'll unlikely choose broccoli or leafy greens!

how does eating mindfully change our cravings?

cb: mindful eating encourages us to override our impulsive behaviour to utilise the part of our brain responsible for conscious choices (the pre-frontal cortex). by incorporating mindfulness into your eating habits, you can consider the impact of how foods make you feel and can take the time to prepare foods that are both delicious and nutritious. 

we're in! what practices can we put into place to eat mindfully?

cb: mindful eating is about slowing down and engaging your senses, which allows you more enjoyment while you eat. slow down and focus on the sensory experience of eating food mindfully, like taste, aroma, and texture. this allows you to savour each small portion of food, like a piece of chocolate, your daily nuut, or a fresh strawberry, and appreciate it without overindulging.

mindful eating takes practice. here are some tips for taking it slow…

put your fork down in between bites

it’s easy to scoop up a new forkful of food before you’re finished chewing the last one. placing the fork down between bites helps you focus on the taste and texture of your food rather than thinking about the next bite.

don’t multitask at the table.

multitasking and eating do not go hand-in-hand. case in point: making your way through a mega bucket of popcorn at the movies. come dinner time, leave your phone in another room, switch off the television and put away the book. focus solely on the food in front of you and savour every bite.

curate a mindful kitchen

organise and care for your kitchen space, so it encourages healthy eating practices. be fussy about what you stock in the pantry and where you put things away. always be stocked up with wholesome food and snacks. when food is around, we tend to eat it.

serve up on smaller plates

dishing up on smaller plates means you serve smaller portions that tune in to your body’s hunger and satiety signals. just be wary of going in for seconds!

pile on the vegetables

rather than restricting what you eat, add more vegetables – the more colourful, the better. there’s no better way to fill up!