Make Your Meals More Mindful With This Eating Meditation Exercise

A simple strategy to reconnect with your best self at mealtime, from Thrive’s Cognitive Nutrition Director Tess Bredesen.

Courtesy of Getty Images
Courtesy of Getty Images

Whole health begins by tuning into your body and paying attention to what it’s trying to convey. Are you listening? 

It’s hard to hear when there’s background noise, and these days, there’s a lot of background noise when we eat: phones, computers, and Netflix, all fighting for our attention as we detach more and more from the sensations of food and mealtime. In fact, the average American has only five “screen-free” meals per week!

Think back to the last time you were eating while working at your desk or watching a movie. How much did you pay attention to the food, its taste, your changing levels of satiety? 

That’s why I love this eating meditation: It’s a small, simple act that helps to reset your intention and recommit yourself to a more mindful relationship with food and eating. It’s a reminder to embrace tastes and savor flavors, while strengthening a relationship with food that’s rooted in flexibility, nourishment, relaxation, and joy.

Next time (or any time) you sit down to a meal, try taking these steps. The exercise is no longer than one minute, but its impact sustains long after the meditation has ended. Even if you’re not big into meditation, I challenge you to try this one out; you’ll feel connected, nourished, and — I promise you — your food will never have tasted so delicious. Are you ready? Let’s begin.

EATING MEDITATION

1. Begin by taking a seat and turning off all distractions: Put your phone on airplane mode, close your computer, and turn off the T.V.

2. Notice your physical hunger. Rate your hunger level from 1-10.

3. Take three deep breaths: in through your nose, out through your mouth.

4. Look at your plate. What do you see? Describe it to yourself or those around you.

5. Smell your food. What do you smell? Describe it to yourself or those around you.

6. Take a bite, chewing slowly and thoroughly. What do you taste? Describe that taste and texture to yourself or those around you: What adjectives come to mind?

7. Continue to enjoy!

Mindful eating can be easier said than done. We’ve all enjoyed a good show during dinner, or had a deadline that’s out of our control. That’s A-OK. We’re human, after all. But even if you set your intention to practice one mindful meal a day — or a week — or a month! — you’ll notice a mental shift and reconnection with your senses and yourself during and after your meditation. It’s a small investment — one minute is all it takes — for a big reward.

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