Understand mindful eating
Mindful eating is rooted in the practice of mindfulness, which is about staying in the moment, remaining conscious of everything you’re doing—the opposite of auto pilot. Mindful eating sounds simple—it involves being aware of how hungry you are and how much you’re eating—but anyone who’s ever curled up on the couch with a bag of chips only to plow through entire bag without paying attention knows it’s easier said than done. Annie B. Kay, lead nutritionist at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, says the trick to mindful eating is to go beyond simply thinking about what you eat and focus on how you’re paying attention to your eating. “It’s a type of meditation where you focus on the present moment, moment by moment, with a meditative attitude of non-judgment,” she says. Even if you’re a meditation novice, you can learn to eat mindfully. Here, Kay, along with Toby Amidor, nutritionist and author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, share tips to help you re-frame your relationship with food for good.
Assess how hungry you are
Before you swing open the fridge out of habit, ask yourself: Are you hungry, bored, or stressed? If you’re actually hungry, reach for a healthy snack (try these healthy and low-calorie snacks). But if after a moment of thinking about it you realize that you just need a break or are feeling anxious or stressed, look for another outlet, such as going for a walk, meditating, taking a yoga class, reading a book, or calling a friend. (Or try these simple ways to beat stress.) If your mouth craves excitement, brew a cup of tea or pop in piece of sugarless gum. Here’s what your different food cravings could reveal about your health.