Flagged by Thanksgiving, November is the perfect month to focus on gratitude and mindfulness. At Lara Metz Nutrition this month, we are reminding our clients to revisit what they are truly grateful for, and apply mindfulness to their health and wellness goals. We want you to ENJOY your food. SAVOR your bites. SLOW DOWN your eating. Doing so will help you meet your nutrition goals.
Here are some tips to help you get started on the path to mindful — gratitude focused — eating:
- Put a napkin on your lap. Yes, you. I know you are eating your lunch from a Tupperware container, or it was just delivered from your favorite spot and it’s wrapped in a plastic container, but take a moment to place a napkin on your lap. Honestly, if you can keep a cloth napkin in your office drawer, it will change how you enjoy your meal. While you are at it, if you can pack real (non disposable) utensils, you’ll enjoy your fare all the more. Taking this small step and making the effort will make lunchtime a nicer, more mindful experience and will help you reach your wellness goals.
- Ditch the distraction. Tempting as it is to flip the TV on, surf the web or connect with a friend while you fuel yourself at mealtime, being preoccupied with other tasks takes away from your ability to register hunger and fullness. Research from Harvard Medical School tells us that people who watch media while eating eat significantly more than those who make eating a solitary task. Yes, you can listen to music or the news, or share your meal conversation with friends and family, as these do not cause the same over eating response.
- Slow down! It is amazing how long and hard people work to make beautiful meals, only to have them disappear in seconds. Here’s a reminder: nobody is going to rip your plate away from you and there is no prize for finishing your meal first. Slowing down allows you the chance to savor the flavors, smells, textures and pleasure of the food. It gives you the chance to get full and stop eating when you get there. Aim for 20 minutes to eat each meal or snack. Put your fork down between bites. Chew small bites. Use your non-dominant hand to pace yourself. This goal is one most of us can work on, and see great success.
- Family dinner. Eating with family and friends is one of those meaningful pleasures in life. True, it isn’t practical for many of us to eat dinner at 6PM, because work and travel schedules, sports and after school activities and general chaos of today’s world gets in the way of sitting around the table, but finding a time to meet in the kitchen and dining room is an effort that will pay off in gratitude karma. If your family and loved ones are far away, consider a FaceTime or Skype coffee klatch. It doesn’t have to be dinner. Near or far, maybe breakfast on Tuesdays, a standing weekend brunch or happy hour on Fridays every week will work better for your lifestyle. Use these family meals to make mindful menus, teach healthy eating to the kiddos, catch up with your grandmother far away, and keep your healthful eating on point.