Christmas is the perfect time to put on your apron and get busy in the kitchen, but with that comes endless amounts of delicious meals and treats to devour. It’s a time of year where we can be found shamelessly queuing for our favourite box of chocolates or even the last bag of sprouts. We don’t always remember to appreciate where our food has come from, especially at Christmas when roasts and mince pies are a daily occurrence. Taking food for granted is easily done, especially when its served to us and we can just simply scoff it down in just a few mouthfuls. Staying mindful when eating is a really useful way of eating less, feeling better about yourself and being present in the moment. This sounds easy, but actually when you’re having a busy day, or feeling stressed, being mindful can easily be forgotten about. So here at Hip and Healthy we wanted to share with you some top tips about mindful eating. Why not give them a go the next time you host a Christmas feast for your friends or family.
Put your utensils down regularly throughout your meal.
This sounds a bit odd, but putting your knife and fork down in between mouthfuls forces you to slow down. By eating slowly it not only helps with your digestion, but it also allows you to be present during the meal. Having friends and family sat around the table also helps you take breaks in between mouthfuls and enjoy the dining experience. Eating with friends and family means you will be busy chatting, allowing you to take natural breaks to put your fork down during your meal time.
Take time out of your day for meals.
Christmas time is hectic to say the least; work deadlines, shopping for presents and trying to make various social events means its easy to slip into bad eating habits without meaning to. One of the most important things to remember during this time is to look after yourself and to take time out of a busy day to enjoy a nutritious meal. Try to avoid eating on the go, or skipping meals altogether. Its easier said than done, but stepping away for 20 minutes from your day to eat a meal with no distractions will really help you feel happier and healthier.
No electronics allowed.
We spend so much time on various electronics throughout the day, from phones, computers and TV screens, so why not make meal times an electronic free zone. This is fun to put to the test when you’re having food with friends or family. You can make everyone put their phones in a pile nearby and see who can last the longest without reaching for their phone. By banning electronics at the dinner table it means you won’t get distracted and will engage with those around the dinner table, as well as enjoy the meal you are eating. Its also known that distractions make you eat quicker and sometimes a bigger portion than you intended. We all know what its like to be sat staring at a screen and before you know it you’ve devoured more food than you realised.
Its easy to get carried away at this time of year when it comes to eating bigger portions. Every social event at Christmas is about what food is being served and it always tastes better too. A really easy way of staying mindful at Christmas is by portion control. This allows you to stay on top of just how much you are eating. Using a smaller plate is also a handy tip to remember, and forces you to eat less. Another great way of controlling your consumption is by using the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Homemade meals always taste better, which means its more tempting to go back for a second helping, so using the remaining food for leftovers is a much better option. It takes a lot of will power, but you’ll thank us when your tucking into your leftovers the second time.
Another common tip is to chew your food more. Chewing more will slow down the process of eating and make your senses heighten whilst you are eating. Its believed that we should chew each mouthful of food up to 30 times. It sounds a lot, especially when something is so tasty and you just can’t get enough of it. Challenge your self to chew more and see if it makes you appreciate your food. Its also really good for your digestive system and if anything it makes the meal last longer, which has got to be a good thing.
Homemade meals are always the best.
The process of cooking a homemade meal often means that you appreciate what’s served in front of you. Having spent hours in the kitchen crafting a delicious lunch, dinner or desert can in fact make you want to slow down the process of eating it. All that hard work can in fact make you more mindful about the food that you are about to eat. Serving up a homemade meal is a great way of getting friends and family over at Christmas time to share all of your hard work. Its also a really simple way of staying mindful.
words by Lisa Evans