1. Don’t Do Anything Else But Eat
In a time when it’s not uncommon to be juggling multiple jobs, multiple kids, chores, errands, and that new project you’re working on, taking time to be present when you eat is so important.
First, take your plate of food and sit down. Remember that? When you had time to eat sitting down at a table? Don’t let yourself eat in the car or stuff bites in between grocery store trips. You cannot feel satisfied by your food if you are unable to even recall what you ate because you were too busy to really notice.
Once you are sitting down, Put.Your.Phone.Away. This will be very hard for some. Many of us use our meal breaks to catch up on emails or social media. But, in the same way as running around and eating, you cannot feel satisfied or nourished by what you ate if you are distracted while eating it.
You owe it to yourself to take a breather, even for just ten minutes. Clear your head and focus on your food.
2. Savor Slowly
You’re not sitting at the table and your phone is nowhere in sight. Now, it’s the fun part!
You don’t want to rush through your meal just to get back to your other tasks. Take small bites, chew slowly, and savor each bite you take.
Consciously being aware of your eating provides an even deeper sense of satisfaction. You are more likely to think afterwards “That was really delicious. Now I am re-energized and I can continue with my day,” as opposed to thinking, “Did I eat enough today? What did I even make?”
Chewing slowly and thoroughly is also better for digestion. Your mind and stomach will thank you!
3. Express Gratitude
While you’re eating, express gratitude for the food in front of you. This can be done in your mind (or out loud if you want). Be thankful that you have access to such good food and the equipment and the knowledge to prepare it.
Be grateful for the nutrients you are feeding your body. Think about what tasks that food is going to fuel you up for, and how it makes you successful in your day.
And, of course, be grateful that it tastes so delicious.
4. Eat the Rainbow
A big part of eating for self-care includes incorporating nutrient dense foods. Food is first and foremost a way to survive. Our bodies need a variety of nutrients that serve different purposes for our well being. Try to prepare meals with different colors to ensure diversity in those nutrients.
The “Balance” rule applies to everything in life, but especially indulgences! Treat yourself to our favorites sweet (r maybe it’s a fancy cheese or wine) once in a while. It’s important to be purposeful with indulgences and to practice steps 1, 2 and 3 while indulging.
Sometimes food has a nostalgic attachment and it can be wonderful to revisit that. By treating your indulgence as just that, an indulgence, you can enjoy your treat while still nourishing your body.
Emily Leis Photography Alexa Federico is a 22-year-old born and raised just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She is an avid reader and green tea drinker. She blogs at Girl in Healing, where she creates healthy recipes and share her life experience living with Chrohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which there is currently no cure for. After seeing extraordinary improvements in her health from following a modified Paleo diet, she is now a firm believer that “food is medicine.” You can follow Alexa on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.