These days, our kitchen, office, bedroom, relaxation area, and workout studio are all under the same roof. For many of us, it’s challenging to create boundaries within each area, and for many, even more difficult to foster a place for mindful eating within our new normal.
As a celebrity wellness chef and nutrition coach, I’ve helped many clients tap into the practice of mindful eating over the years. This has helped clients keep energy up, hormones balanced, their mind clear, and their soul happy.
During this time with so much change and unknown, adapting to positive habits and conscious eating can help create a sense of calm and centeredness. Here are five ways to practice mindful eating.
1. Set The Foundation
Mindful eating starts with the food you keep in your house. Before you do your shopping for the week, think of your goals, how you want to feel, and who you want to be that week.
Furthermore, keep the following formula to mind when shopping and building each meal: Think protein, fiber, and fat.
I recommend keeping high-quality protein options like wild and grass fed meats, above ground vegetables (fiber), like broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, lettuces, cauliflower, and lastly, fat like avocado, olive oil, and nuts in the house.
Additionally, the less packaged foods the better — this pushes you to cook and create dishes to keep on hand, which connects you to the food you’re eating. Keep it simple and dedicate a little time to baking veggies and protein so you’re never in a mind. If you’re short on time you can also make eggs, and/or purchase a rotisserie chicken.
2. Eat Smart, Not less
This brings us to the next tip. The aforementioned three-part formula of protein, fiber, and fat will help to keep you full, satiated and energized between meals. The best part? You can eat until you’re satisfied and not worry about counting a thing.
This naturally fosters a sense of mindfulness as you’re relying on your own measurement of hunger.
3. Change it up, but eat what you love
If you’re dining out, going food shopping, or ordering in, think of the foods you’ve been eating and how you can provide your body with new information. If you’ve been eating a lot of chicken, change it up to beef, or turkey.
Before ordering off a menu, tap into what you’re craving before you go looking. Think of what you’d like to have and find that item or something similar on the menu.
On the topic of eating what you love… this is where you can get creative.
If you’re craving italian, get creative by sauteing vegetables and a protein in a red sauce like Rao’s Marinara.
If you’re craving Indian, use a pre-mixed spice blend like Garam Masala or Curry and create a dish using your favorite vegetables, protein, and coconut milk.
But there’s an exception! Sometimes you’re really just craving something familiar and something you love.
The other day I really wanted a grilled cheese, and instead of ordering the gluten free version on bread that I knew wouldn’t do it for me, I ordered it on crunchy sourdough and went for it to the fullest. I was so happy and content and later switched back to the three-part formula and went heavy on the vegetables. My body was craving it by that point and I was able to listen to it because I listened to it earlier before.
4. Be intentional
If you’re craving something really indulgent, tap into the feeling and decide if you’re really truly craving that item, or if it’s the sensation you’re craving from a self-soothing standpoint. For example, if you’re craving a crunch and want to reach for the bag of chips, this typically stems from anxious energy. Eating crunchy items like carrots, celery, or swapping tradition chips for grain-free chips like Siete can help give you that same sensation while keeping you feeling great. From a physical standpoint, going for a walk, run, listening to music, and weight lifting can help move that anxiousness out of you.
If you’re craving foods that require scooping and sucking like ice cream, cereal, or a glass of wine, this typically comes from the primal sensation of sucking which gives us a sense of comfort, love, and nourishment. Try mimicking that sensation by having coconut yogurt, chia pudding, or sipping tea. For the physical swap, take a bath, spend time with a loved one, or journal to foster your deep need of connection to self and others.
5. Let go of perfection
There’s so much information out there on eating, working out, biohacking, and wellness. The science is constantly changing and we are fed (pun intended) conflicting information through ads on television, our phones, influencers, and friends and family. Sure, information is power, but sometimes all the information gets confusing and difficult to sift through, and ultimately our decisions around food and living have to come from deep inside our soul.
Mindful eating is like strengthening your intuition, and the more you use it, the more you trust it. Trust your judgment, trust your body, and be true to what you’re needing and craving because your body ultimately has all the answers.
Written by HealthKick partner
Shauna Faulisi, celebrity wellness chef & nutrition coach