The word ‘mindful’ gets thrown around a lot these days, and that’s not a bad thing. I think we could all do with a little more mindfulness in our lives, be it noticing the pregnant woman on the tube, not bashing into others walking on a busy street (ie: look up from your phones), or taking this into meditation, your daily workout, or the way you eat. The folk at Legal & General challenged me to spend a week focusing on Mindful Eating, with the help of a very generous box from Hello Fresh.
With fantastic produce delivered right to my door, and 5 recipes to create with it all, it definitely made eating well for the week rather easy! But it’s not all about what you eat. Being mindful is more about how you eat, and my challenge was to find out whether being more mindful as I sat down to eat my meals made a difference to the way I ate.
Legal & General have come up with a few different ways for you to become more mindful at mealtimes. They all made a difference in my week, but there was one that particularly worked for me.
Savour Your Food.
So often I find myself eating between appointments, on the move, or exhaustedly shoving food down my neck after a late evening of teaching. Could I tell you the taste, texture or smell of what I was eating? Probably not. Savouring your food doesn’t have to mean eating at snail’s pace, but more like taking notice of what your eating experience is. Smell your food, chew slowly and notice what flavours hit your palette first. Are there any lingering flavours after you swallow? Does is feel how you expect in your mouth? Does what you’re eating make you feel cosy and warm, or awake and refreshed?
The best way to start savouring your food is to remove any distractions. Try sitting at the table instead of on the sofa with the TV on. If you don’t like the quiet, then pop some relaxing music on and really focus on what you’re putting in your mouth. Not only will you taste and enjoy your food so much more, but you’ll likely eat less as well. It takes 20 minutes or so for your stomach to tell your brain that it’s full. If you’re not paying attention to those signals, you’ll be more inclined to overeat. Whether you live alone or with your family, everyone will benefit from less to distract them at mealtimes. There’s plenty of research to support the benefits of family mealtimes, not only for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but also for happy family life and the welfare of children. Cut the distractions and really enjoy your food.
I enjoyed my week of mindful eating, and definitely felt the benefits. It’s easy to spend the day on my laptop, make my dinner, then sit in front of another screen (the TV) to eat. It’s not exactly mindful. Spending a week at my lovely kitchen table, watching the world go past my window was such a nice change. I definitely ate less, enjoyed the food more, and plan on continuing with this – apart from maybe the occasional treat, it’s all about balance after all.
So here’s my challenge for you all. Spend a week changing your mealtime habits to be more mindful. Eat at the table, play some classical music, put out the flowers and candles, whatever you need to do. See if one small change makes a difference to the way you eat. You never know, you might be a secret food connoisseur without even knowing!!
I was gifted with a Hello Fresh box to promote Legal & General’s post. All words are my own, please see disclaimer for more information.