I love food. I love food so much that if I’m not eating, then I’m thinking of what we will eat for the next meal. I used to love to cook and would even make the weekly meal plans with the nice long grocery lists to go with them. The late night scouring of Pinterest and food blogs to find the next great recipe for dinners became an addiction. You can tell just by looking at my Pinterest boards! We were eating great and I felt great about that. But it was becoming more of a job to plan, shop, and then actually cook than it was to homeschool and keeping up with the rest of the house! I started to become lazy and eventually gave up on it. We reverted back to our quick and frozen meals and snacks. We all fall into this eating habit but we need to start being more mindful and intuitive of what we are actually eating. Here are five tips to try.
5 Tips For Mindful Eating
Eat When Hungry
This sounds pretty simple to do but it’s really not! How many times have you thought you were hungry for a snack and reached in the cabinet for something? I know I do that a lot when I’m bored. It can also mean you are just thirsty. I like to make sure I have a bottle of water with me all the time. I basically feel like I’m missing something if I don’t. If you aren’t crazy about plain water, you can try sparkling water or fruit- or vegetable-infused water. Keeping healthier snacks on hand, like a granola ball, dried fruit bar or piece of fruit, will be great for those in-between meal nibbles.
Take It Slow
Taking the time to actually enjoy your meal is a great way for you to feel more satiated, registering that you enjoyed some good food. The mad dash out the door and grabbing the quickest thing you can to eat (or NOT eating at all) can make you feel horrible. I’ve always been a slow eater, so eating fast for me, is not good on the belly. You can make breakfasts on the weekends for you to enjoy on the week days, like banana muffins, or stir together oats with milk and fruit the night before for a heat-and-eat breakfast the next day. I love using my slow cooker and it’s especially nice on those extra busy days. Just toss your dinner in the slow cooker and let it do the rest! Check out this awesome collection of slow cooker recipes for ideas.
Savor that Treat
Our fruit basket is always full of fruits – apples, oranges, and especially bananas. We even have a drawer full of different varieties of fruit cups! They are nice to grab after a meal to finish it off but every now and then we like to have a treat. If you have a craving for a treat, just having a bite or a very small portion isn’t going to satisfy it. Just think of how many times you had a spoonful or two of ice cream and then went sampling all the other snacks because you’re trying to compensate for that ice cream you wanted. Just savor that treat, even if it is a small portion, and you can avoid overeating other foods. This easy chocolate chip bar cookie recipe looks like something I’d enjoy a time or two..or three!
Enjoy the Silence (of Your Device)
If you are checking email, reading a newspaper, watching TV, or anything else while eating a meal, chances are that you won’t remember your meal much! A review of studies on awareness while eating has shown that distracted eating (from TV or computers) likely causes us to eat a little more at that distracted meal and can result in increased calorie intakes at later meals or snacks. Makes a lot of sense, right?? We like to watch TV while we eat but we are usually so into whatever is one that we aren’t focusing on what we are eating. Not even 30 minutes after dinner, the kids are asking for a snack! Take time to enjoy your meals, away from devices, and focus on the food and the conversation. If you are alone, concentrate on the flavors and textures or simply enjoy the view out of the window.
Grow It Yourself
We have never had a proper garden. I’ve always wanted one but we had to settle for a “container garden”. The nerdlings would help out with the planting and watering. They enjoyed checking to see if there was any new growths. The veggies that came out of them weren’t always so nice looking BUT the kids did enjoy them better than anything we had ever brought home from the store. We haven’t planted anything since moving over 2 years ago but I have been itching to give it a try again! If you want to start out small, try container gardening for herbs and in no time you may feel up to making your own garden pesto! If you want to do more, check out this post on planning a garden.