Eat Mindfully

10 Ways to Eat Mindfully for a Healthy Lifestyle

October 20, 2016

You wake up and it’s time to get yourself, and the kids, ready for another busy day.  You make breakfast for the family, but you don’t have enough time to eat as you frantically glance through your work emails. Into the car you go and the morning drop off starts. You walk into the office at 9 A.M. and work gets started right away.

Does this sound familiar? Many of us can relate to this daily routine. We all have many roles and responsibilities: Parent, employee, friend, sister, brother and the list goes on. All of these roles require our time and attention; however, time is limited so we try to “multi-task”.  We're told that a person who is able to multi-task is very efficient, so we all try to get better each day by “multi-tasking”.

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary states the primary definition of multi-tasking as “the concurrent performance of several jobs by a computer.” When did humans become computers? Although we are capable of doing many tasks at one time, none of those tasks will receive our complete and full attention. And unlike computers that can stay on for days at a time with multiple tabs open, there comes a point where we become emotionally drained. Therefore, I wonder if multi-tasking indeed leads to being more efficient or if it’s the very thing that drains us.

Eating and Sleeping are Components of a Healthy Lifestyle

Because our minds are full with many tasks and responsibilities, we often neglect our basic needs for food and sleep.  Eating and sleeping are major components of living a healthier lifestyle. Today, taking the time out to eat is a luxury and the media does not make it any easier. Everything is marketed as “fast.” We need food that is fast and portable so we can eat it on the go. The dinner table has been collecting dust and is being used for other purposes unrelated to enjoying a healthy wholesome meal.  This has led to less home cooked meals, a higher consumption of fast foods lacking in nutritional value, eating in front of the television, in the car or at the work desk; all contributing to the growing overweight and obesity crisis in America. For this reason, medical professionals have started to adapt a new method of promoting a healthier lifestyle through the idea of Mindful Eating.

Mindfulness is the idea of being fully present from moment to moment, in awareness of one’s emotional and physical condition as well as one’s surroundings.

Mindful eating techniques have arisen from this idea to promote awareness of one’s internal and external cues that influence the desire to eat, food choice and the quantity of food consumed.  External cues come from our environment; food establishments and their marketing techniques or people (friends or family) who influence our food choice. Internal cues are physiological. These arise from hormones that tell us when we are hungry and when we are full. However, these cues can be altered with obesity, as obese individuals may become resistant to certain satiety signals.

Another internal cue is our psychological state. Emotional and psychological stress may also lead to the consumption of foods that are high in fat and sugar. Mindful eating has been shown to reduce emotional stress and create awareness for individuals to choose fruits and vegetables over sugary snacks.  Because of its positive results, research for mindful eating continues to grow. So, take control of your health today and choose mindfulness over multi-tasking with our top 10 tips for eating mindfully.

Top 10 Tips to Eat Mindfully

1bTake time to “just eat”: The first step is to focus on just one activity at a time. Your internal cues are letting you know that you are hungry. Take the time to sit down and enjoy this eating experience. Take the opportunity to sit and relax and “just eat.”
2bSit at the table: The table represents many things. It’s a place to take a break from what is going on around you, a place to enjoy good company, and a place to focus on your meal. Avoid eating in front of your television, in your car or at your desk.
3bPut away the package: Unless you are eating from a single serve bag, put away the package! Packaged snacks can contain multiple servings. Eating straight from the package while engaging in some other form of activity can make us unaware of the quantity of food that we are consuming.
4bEat slowly: Digestion is a process. It takes a variety of hormones between your gut and your nervous system to work together and register your feeling of satiety. Eating too fast can alter these signals and lead to overeating.
5bCreate a relaxed environment: Find what relaxes you. Be it classical music, the sound of nature or the smell of lavender. Create a space that is stress free.
6bUnderstand your internal and external cues: Ask yourself, why am I eating? Have hours passed and it is time for some substantial energy? Am I eating because I’m bored?
7bQuestion your food choice: Why should I pick this over that? Does my choice provide any additional health benefits beyond satisfying my hunger?
8bUse your senses: Touch, smell and taste your food. Prepare it in a way that will be visually appetizing and hear the sounds of the kitchen as you chop, slice and dice. Involve your whole self in the process.
9bFocus on variety: Involve all of your food groups on your plate. Make your plate colorful with protein, dark green vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats. All of which provide nourishment for your body.
10bEnjoy the experience: Your attitude as you approach your meal is key. Avoid thinking of eating as a chore but more as an experience. Enjoy your wholesome meal! If you cooked it, share the recipe with others. Make the whole experience worthwhile.


Harvard Health Publications (2011, February).  Mindful eating. Retrieved from

Fung, T.T., Long, M.W., Hung, P., & Cheung, L.W.Y. (2016). An expanded model for mindful eating for health promotion and sustainability: Issues and challenges for dietetics practice. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 116 (7), 1081-1086.

Michelle Liz


Michelle Paillere, MS, RDN, CDN is a graduate from Long Island University, LIU Post campus.  She completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Nutrition at LIU Post. Michelle joined the Northwell Health system at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York as the Practice Dietitian for the Department of Surgery in August 2014. There, she conducts weekly Nutrition classes and leads monthly support groups.

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