Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

{Above: a big mindful bowl of mint chocolate chip}

In our Healthy & Whole series, we’ve been talking about barriers to embracing healthy eating: no timefear, lack of inspirationguilt, and judgement. Now, we’d like to talk about another concept we learned about a few years ago and are trying (though it’s hard!) to practice: mindful eating. 

Have you heard of mindfulness, or mindful eating? Basically, mindfulness is the concept of being fully mentally present while doing a certain action – be it eating, walking, driving, having a conversation, and so forth.

We’ve found it easy to get preoccupied and “go through the motions” in daily life without being truly mentally present. A few years back, I felt pulled in so many directions that I couldn’t have a clear thought – let alone concentrate on the food I was shoving into my mouth. It’s taken years of trying to slow down to get to a point of even recognizing a problem.

If you’ve ever felt like this, never fear! Mindful eating, and in particular this list below, can help: it’s not meant to make you feel guilty about how unmindful you might be now, just to inspire a new level of awareness about food and living.

Mindful eating encourages:

-Full awareness of what you eat while you are eating. For example, not eating at a desk or while watching TV.
-Fully tasting each bite.
-Slowing down and enjoying the process of a meal.
-Avoiding compulsive or mindless snacking.
-Avoiding using food as a reward.
-Using a compassionate and non-judgmental approach to food.
-Advocating self-acceptance and body-acceptance.

Let us be the first to confess that we find this fairly difficult in practice! For example, I eat many meals at a desk or  laptop, and am a pro at mindless snacking. But, I view mindful eating as a goal to strive towards. While I’m not perfect in its practice, I’ve found after slowing down and trying to be more intentional, my mind has cleared and I’m able to enjoy life, eating and otherwise, in new ways I hadn’t before.

Another plus: mindful eating has been found to help avoid overeating – check out this article from NPR (with a fun mindful eating exercise).

How about you? Do you practice mindful or mindless eating? What do you think of the concept?

We learned about mindfulness from this book, Eat, Drink and Be Mindful by Susan Albers. We’d recommend it as a great resource to anyone looking to learn more about intentional eating habits. 

Healthy & Whole Series
Slowing Down
Be Bold
Get Inspired
What We Eat
Get Outside
On Food and Guilt
On Food and Judgement
Herbs: A Cook’s Best Friend
And more!

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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  1. You two are just stellar. I love this post and have always tried to be a mindful eater, but wow, I think there’s plenty of room for improvement. I just really appreciate the concept of fully enjoying each and every bite of food, which is why food choices – even down to the nitty gritty details of which sauces or spices or herbs to season with, or how hot or cold to serve it, or what textures I want to combine – are things that I try to pay a lot of attention to. :) Thank you for being so inspiring with this series!

  2. Oh this is *so* important. It’s been my mantra this year (although I still haven’t got out of the habit of eating lunch at my desk…baby steps). One of the keys is really trying not to use food as a reward or, equally, as a crutch and really enjoying food rather than giving it all sorts of emotional baggage. Such an inspiring post to read this Friday morning!

  3. Great post! This is something I always strive to do, but things can be so crazy at our house it’s hard to focus on eating mindfully. Thanks for a great reminder to just slow down and enjoy! :)

  4. Great post. I’ve been trying mindful eating lately and not only does it improve digestion, but it also makes you appreciate the food you prepare more. Always challenging to do but the rewards are astounding.

  5. Eating mindfully is one of my favorite concepts. I think you have summarized the topic quite beautifully in this post and oh my, that ice cream looks fantastic!