What are the benefits of mindful eating?

Based on the foundation of mindfulness, mindful eating requires the same thoughtful attention to your thoughts and feelings in a moment. Mindfulness has been shown to relieve stress and anxiety, but the practice of mindful eating has a few unique benefits of its own.

  • Prevents digestive issues caused by eating food too quickly
  • Lowers stress-induced hormones like cortisol
  • Enables you to recognize and modify problematic eating patterns
  • Helps cut back on unhealthy food cravings

This exercise will also help you become more aware of the body’s sensations while you eat. Now, let’s learn how to get started with mindful eating.

9 Steps to Mindfully Eating

  1. Purposefully set 20-30 minutes aside to eat your meal.
  2. Pause for a moment and observe the food you’re about to eat. Take a few deep breaths.
  3. Notice the food’s color and shape. Does it look appealing to you? Notice how the food makes you feel: excited, reminiscent, happy, or anxious.
  4. What does the food smell like? Think beyond general descriptors – does the smell remind you of anything? What emotions does it bring forward?
  5. Be aware of your intention to begin eating as you move to take a bite of food.
  6. As you take a bite of food, notice the feeling of the food in your mouth. What is its texture? Is it heavy or light on your tongue?
  7. Begin chewing slowly. What tastes are you experiencing? Are there several different tastes such as salty, sour, and sweet?
  8. As you swallow, become aware of your body’s movements as it moves the food from your mouth to your stomach.
  9. Pause before you continue to eat. How are you feeling? Are you full, still hungry or somewhere in between? Continue to eat mindfully, noticing as many sensations as you can.

Mindful eating is just one way to practice mindfulness throughout the day. Looking for more ways to ground yourself and relieve stress? Find more resources on mindfulnessand enjoy the benefits to your mental and physical well-being.

For more information on how to practice mindful eating, review these resources: