What is mindful eating?

mindful eating 1There’s fast food, there’s convenience food, there’s the slow food revolution – but what is mindful food? Or more specifically, mindful eating? Reassuringly, it boils down to simply being aware of what you’re eating and taking the time to enjoy the taste. Even better, it can help you lose weight. Nice!

According to a recent survey of 175 Accredited Practising Dietitians, by the Dieticians Association of Australia, almost 60 per cent are planning to fine tune eating habits by being more mindful in 2015. That’s a large proportion!

“Research is now showing that ‘mindful eating’ is a key part of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight,” explained Professor Clare Collins, spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia and Accredited Practising Dietitian. “The aim of mindful eating is to learn to slow down so that you appreciate the food you’re eating – the texture, smell and taste, by making the most of each bite. Another key principle is being aware of the kilojoules you’re taking in so that you are able to make informed choices about what you eat.

“By consistently eating in this way, it becomes easier to stop after a couple of pieces of chocolate or a small slice of your favourite cake. You actually feel satisfied, which stops you from overeating. It also helps you work out when you may be stressed rather than hungry.”

Top tips for mindful eating

If eating mindfully is on your list of things to do this year, Professor Collins has outlined the following tips to get you started. And once you start, it will hopefully become an automatic way of life.

  • Eat slowly and savour the flavour of foods
  • Choose mostly good-for-you, nourishing core foods, like fruit and vegetables
  • Plan ahead so that you have the ingredients you ned for healthy meals on hand
  • Make meals that require some preparation, and enjoy the process of cooking
  • Become aware of hunger before you automatically eat in response to non-food reasons
  • Sit down to eat at the dining table, rather than on the go or in the lounge room
  • Eat with family or friends (and turn off the TV at meal times!)
  • Select plates and cutlery to use that make meal times feel special
  • Practice remembering what you ate yesterday

Become aware of what is in the food you eat by reading food labels and comparing productsmindful eating 2The Dietitians Association of Australia recommends that people looking to lose weight seek expert, tailored nutrition advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). This will be based on the latest scientific research – and right for each individual. Finding an APD in your area is easy – visit www.healthyweightweek.com.au and click on the ‘Find an APD’ link.

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