By Wendy J. Dahl, PhD, RD, FDC, Assistant Professor, Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, University of Florida.
“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” - Virginia Woolf
In today’s fast-paced world with pressure to balance work, family, social life, physical activity and anything else life throws at us, food is often an afterthought. You may find yourself forgetting to eat or eating because it is “time” to eat. It is important to be mindful of the entire eating experience. Eating mindfully is slowing down and appreciating what, why, where, and how we are eating. So, how can we eat mindfully?
First, stop and think.
What are you eating?
- Is it a snack or meal?
- Fruit or vegetable?
- Food or beverage?
Why are you eating?
- Are you hungry?
- Are you preparing for a long day?
- Do you need extra energy?
Where are you eating?
- Are you at home?
- On the go?
How are you eating?
- Are you eating slowly or quickly?
- Loudly or softly?
On Food Day, October 24, take a moment to consider how you can celebrate with mindful eating. Here are several ideas:
- Visit a Registered Dietitian to get advice on healthy and nutrient-rich eating
- Take a cooking class to add excitement back in the kitchen
- Submit a question on Best Food Facts to gain clarity on a question about food that is burning in your mind
- Find MyPlate resources to better balance your diet
- Make dinner for your friends or family and share you favorite food memories from childhood
- Volunteer at a local soup kitchen
- Visit a farm
Food should be celebrated while eating mindfully. There is no right or wrong way to do so, as long as the focus is on the eating experience. When we can make more time to eat, it makes mindful eating a much richer experience.