Department of Health & Human Services
Premiers Active April

Mindful eating approach to meal times

Mindful eating can help establish lifelong healthy eating habits. The principles are really easy to apply in everyday life.

Mindful eating is not a diet.

Healthy-Work-Lunch-smallMindful eating is the exact opposite of mindless eating. It’s simply being more aware of your eating habits and the flavours and sensations you experience from eating. You don’t need to follow any recipes or menus, just adopt a mindful eating approach to your regular eating habits. Over time, being mindful in the way we eat gradually increases our awareness of what, why and how much we want to eat, and we naturally begin to choose foods that satisfy genuine needs and wants.

Here are our 5 favourite tips to add mindfulness to your menu:

1. Tune in

Before each meal, take a moment to consider how hungry you are and how your body feels. What signals is your body giving you that it’s ready to eat? When we are hungry we can often hear and feel our stomach rumbling, but it’s also important to pay attention to other signals from your body.

2. Eat slowly and chew well

When we allow ourselves the time to eat at a slow and leisurely pace, it helps us enjoy the flavour and texture of food. It also improves our digestion. Did you know that it takes 20 minutes for food to reach the stomach? Therefore eating slowly allows us time for our body to recognise when we’re full and have had enough.

3. Ditch the distractions

Our busy lives mean we’re often eating on the run or while we’re distracted. Eating in front of the TV or at your desk is also a big cause of mindless eating. When we are distracted and not concentrating fully on our meal, we tend to overeat. Taking the time to enjoy your food without all the distractions will help you make more nutritious food choices and will contribute to greater satisfaction from your meal while preventing overindulgence.

4. Reboot your routine

It’s not uncommon for people to eat more out of routine than actual hunger. Check to see if you have lapsed into patterns where you find yourself eating out of habit rather than hunger. Next time you reach for a snack or an extra helping, tune into your body to assess whether you’re eating out of hunger or something else. Perhaps you are stressed, bored or just need a break from what you are doing for a few minutes.

5. Aim for a variety of foods

Good nutrition is all about balance. It’s important to eat a range of foods from all the five core food groups (fruits, vegetables, grain foods, dairy foods or non-dairy alternatives and protein foods like meat, fish, eggs, nuts and legumes). Enjoying a treat every now and again is perfectly fine too.

Picnic in the park

nutrition-australiaFor more handy healthy eating tips and tasty recipes visit the Nutrition Australia website.

Last updated: November 29, 2016 at: 5:02 pm

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