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Savoring the Moment: Practice Mindful Eating

The ideas and suggestions written below are provided for general educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or care. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider before beginning any physical fitness or health- and nutrition-related activity.

Mindfulness has become something of a buzzword, but it’s too real a concept to be dismissed as trendy, because in today’s society, this can be a difficult yet seriously beneficial practice. And as we navigate our personal and professional lives during an ongoing pandemic, even the briefest moments of mindfulness can make a positive impact on our wellbeing.

To be mindful is to be fully present in the moment, to pay deliberate (and non-judgmental) attention to our thoughts, feelings, and physical environment. Being mindful requires we not dwell on the past or anticipate the future.

Practice is key. Since mindfulness is a state of mind (as opposed to a trait), we all have the ability to be more mindful through consistent repetition.

How does it work? We can achieve mindfulness when we focus on what we're doing now. That means reeling in our thoughts, setting aside anxiety about never-ending to-do lists (hello work emails, PTA, and politics), and embracing everyday moments with our most present selves.

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is a conscious approach to consumption that helps us empower our eating habits, so we can have it all -- delicious and nutritious food, a time-out to focus on our bodies, and a powerful reset from the anxieties and pressures of our everyday. Best of all, we’ve got three meals each day (and a snack here and there) to make the most of it.

This practice focuses on what we’re eating with how we’re eating it to bring awareness to all aspects of mealtime, including:

  • Taste
  • Texture
  • Smell
  • Quality
  • Quantity
  • Visual appeal

Pro tip for exploring your mindful eating practice: The steps you can take to participate in mindful eating are entirely interconnected. They play off each other -- much like our five senses -- to keep you in-the-now and to offer a natural balance as you nourish your body and mind.

Woman preparing fruit in her kitchen

Four steps to more mindful eating.

1. Be present.

This means inviting a purposeful break from your to-do lists and a no-distractions approach to enjoying your meal.

  • Put your phone on silent or airplane mode (or better yet, leave it in the other room). Get away from the screen -- close the laptop and turn off the TV.
  • Empower your mindful mealtime by letting colleagues know you’re on a break.
  • Choose a serene setting where you're able to concentrate on the meal or snack in front of you. Right now, there’s an extra layer to this challenge since everyone in the household is likely home. Consider pulling a chair up to a sunny window, sitting on your porch, or initiating 15 minutes of mindful (quiet) time throughout the house.

2. Pause and pay attention.

Start with slowing down. When you slow down, you can take a proactive approach to meal prep and meal time.

  • As you meal prep, consider how you can power up your body for the day.
  • Focus your attention on the physical act of eating. Take small bites and notice the fragrance, flavor, and texture of your food.
  • When a craving hits, listen to it. Then consider how you can satisfy it purposefully with flavors that hit the spot.
  • Check in with your body regularly to learn what nourishment you need throughout the day. Do you need a boost before lunch? Do you need a mid-afternoon pick-me-up? Perhaps you want a post-dinner treat and you can take one more mindful moment to slow down before bedtime.

3. Celebrate foods that nourish your body and mind.

Embrace food that satisfies your cravings and makes you feel good long after you’ve put your plate away.

In practice, select wholesome ingredients that are both nutritious and delicious.

  • Focus on food, not calories.
  • Think first about your meal, not your macros.
  • Choose snacks that balance nutrition with mouth-watering flavors and textures that satisfy the senses.

Helpful hint #1: When craving something indulgent, take a feel-good break with LUNA® bar. Each bar is packed with wholesome deliciousness you can enjoy anytime, anywhere. Plus, LUNA Bars are plant-based, gluten-free, non-GMO and available in 14 tasty flavors. And they're never ever made with high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.

4. Plate your meals. Stash supplemental snacks.

Eating from a plate instead of a to-go carton or pre-packaged container gives you the opportunity to appreciate quality and quantity.

  • Pick a smaller dinner plate to portion out your meal.
  • Refrigerate or store additional portions prior to sitting down for your meal.
  • When cravings strike while on the go, select better-for-you options so you can be intentional, not insatiable, at your next meal.

Helpful hint #2: When you need a pick-me-up, keep CLIF® Thins handy. With 2 Thins, 100 calories, and 5g of sugar per pack, they are delicious, crispy, crunchy, and perfectly portioned to make the most of a thoughtful break or to allow you to savor a moment.