(NC) With busy schedules, we’re all guilty of eating lunch on the go or sitting down for dinner in front of a favourite show. Mindful eating can help, promoting a healthy lifestyle that lets us reconnect with what our bodies truly need.
Mindful eating is the practice of paying attention to food. It involves slowing down to truly experience a meal and then paying attention to how the body feels — the tricky part is doing all that with observation instead of judgement.
Here, Abbey Sharp, a registered dietitian, shares her tips on eating more mindfully:
1. Put aside distractions
Research shows that eating while distracted can lead to eating more while feeling less satisfied. Focusing on what’s on your plate can make a big difference. Give it a try — turn off the TV, put away your phone and pay attention to your next meal. It’s not easy to stay focused, but the more you practice the easier it gets.
2. Slow down
Our bodies need about 20 minutes to signal to the brain that it has received enough food. Give your body a chance to feel full by slowing down your pace. If you’re used to shovelling back your food in haste, try putting your cutlery down in between bites, taking a sip of water, engaging in conversation and chewing your food thoroughly.
3. Track how food makes you feel
People respond differently to different foods. Some might feel great after a big bowl of cereal, others not so much. While we can make foods morally equal, they’re not all nutritionally equal and this can have an impact on how they make our bodies feel.
For example, most cows’ milk you find in grocery stores contains a mix of both A1 and A2 proteins, and some people have trouble digesting the A1 protein. Fortunately, making simple switches can help you ward off digestive discomfort. Try a2 Milk, which comes from Canadian cows that naturally produce milk with only the A2 protein and research shows can be easier to digest.
Then, after a meal, take time to check in with yourself. How does the food on your plate or in your cup make you feel?
4. Understand the source of hunger
Check-in with yourself to determine why you’re reaching for food — is it physical hunger, emotional hunger or “mouth hunger” (a specific craving)?
There’s nothing wrong with sometimes eating for reasons other than physical hunger, so it’s important to ask these questions without judgement. But getting to know our patterns can help us make choices that feel best for our bodies while finding more effective coping mechanisms.
Learn more at a2milk.ca.