There typically are three types of people in our modern day society.
1. Those who take the time sit down without distraction at meal times, maybe sharing their meal with friends or family.
2. Those who eat on the go.
3. Those who hide away with social media or Netflix as company.
The later groups, those eating on the go and those distracted by screens, are considered mindless eaters.
Mindless eating, as the name suggests, is when we pay little or no attention to what or how much food is going into our mouths. Have you ever watched TV while eating a pack of sweets or a bag of crisps and, unknown to yourself, polished off the entire contents? This is mindless eating.
With all this in mind, consider your eating behaviour over the past week. Have you been mindful of what you’re eating? Could you make improvements? If you’ve a long way to go, start off small, committing to one mindful meal per day, five out of the seven days per week. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying every meal with more thought and appreciation than ever before.
What are the benefits of mindful eating?
The main advantage of mindful eating is that is can reduce the likelihood of overeating which can have a knock-on effect on weight, BMI and overall health. Mindful eating forces us to slow down, bringing greater awareness to our portions sizes and the feeling of hunger and fullness that our bodies are experiencing.
Want to get started? At meal times, try asking yourself these questions:
• How does the food taste? What are the main flavours coming through?
• How does the food make me feel? Nostalgic? Happy? Sad? And why?
• How does my body feel before, after and during eating?
And if you travel a lot with work, quickly grab lunch between meetings or have an unpredictable schedule, you can still incorporate mindful meals into your day. Try blocking off as little as 20-30 minutes each day to enjoy your lunch and take a moment to breathe and be present in the moment.
A little everyday can go a long way.
Drop Chef have created an exciting new range of meals for the summer time and they’re so good that it would be a shame to not enjoy them mindfully. My favourites so far are the One Pan Mediterranean Cod with Sun-Dried Tomato Rice and the Wholegrain Mustard Pasta but I’ll let you make up your own mind.
Amy Meegan, BSc (Hons) Human Nutrition, UCD
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