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Nutrition News: Mindful Eating

Charlyn Fargo on

Mindful Eating

Ever wondered what mindful eating is all about? It's the opposite of dashboard dining, desktop lunches and grab-and-go dinners.

Mindful eating isn't about what you eat, but how -- recognizing that food and mealtimes are about more than fuel and are meant to be enjoyed.

The term "mindfulness" is defined as "paying attention in a particular way, on purpose in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally" by Jon Kabat-Zinn, leader of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He's the author of the book "Full Catastrophe Living."

Kabat-Zinn goes on to define mindful eating as an approach to food that focuses on individuals' sensual awareness of food and the experience of eating food. It has less to do with calories and nutrients and more to do with savoring the moment and each bite.

In a 2017 article, "Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence While You Eat," published in Diabetes Spectrum, author Joseph Nelson offers ideas on how mindful eating can shift how you think about food and how it can help you make better choices and build a healthier relationship with food.

 

Here are a few steps to get started:

No. 1: Check in with your hunger. It's best to eat something when you're slightly to moderately hungry so you can slow down and eat mindfully. You want an appetite but not to be ravenous.

No. 2: Limit distractions at the table. Disconnect from your phone or the television. Eat your meals at the table rather than standing at a counter, so you are fully present.

No. 3: Start with gratitude and appreciate the food in front of you.

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