Forget dieting, try mindful eating

Want to start making smart and informed food choices? Mindful eating is often more effective than restrictive diets. We encourage you to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, flavors and social experiences food can add to our lives.

Enjoy food traditions

Food and social activities often go together. Food plays a central role in holiday occasions and nearly all social gatherings, which can be good. Research shows that eating dinner together with your family can promote healthier eating and strengthen relationships. Prioritize family meals and take time to enjoy food traditions that come with social gatherings.

Take your time

In today’s busy world, people often eat quickly and mindlessly. Try eating slowly to help you savor the flavor of your food. Eat one bite at a time, and focus on the different flavors and textures. Stop and take time between bites, put your fork down and enjoy conversation. Eating slowly not only allows you to enjoy your food, but it can also help you eat less by giving your stomach time to tell your brain that you’re full.

Be a mindful eater

What you eat is important, but how, when, why and where you eat are equally as important. Think about where you eat most of your meals. Many people eat lunch on the go or at their work desks and dinner in front of the television. Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to find a nice place to mindfully eat instead of multitasking during meals.

Each person’s dietary needs are different based on individual health. A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help guide your food choices while considering your tastes and preferences. RDNs are able to separate fact from fad and translate nutritional science into information you can use. While a healthy lifestyle goes beyond eating more fruits and vegetables, adding them to your diet has lots of nutritional benefits. For a healthy side dish, try making this spicy cauliflower recipe.

Spicy Cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of a lemon (or 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

Directions:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into large florets and then use your hands to break into very small florets.
  2. Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add the oils, cauliflower and garlic. Stir the cauliflower around in the pan, allowing it to get very brown in some areas. Cook for 5–8 minutes, then turn the heat to low.
  3. Add the soy sauce, lemon juice and most of the sliced green onions. Stir and cook for 1 minute, then add the hot sauce and stir until well mixed.
  4. Serve warm. Sprinkle remaining green onions on top.
To learn more about nutrition services at Anne Arundel Medical Center, visit AskAAMC.org/nutrition.

Authors
Caldwell Shackelford Photo3

By Ann Caldwell and Maureen Shackelford, nutritionists and registered dietitians at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach them call 443-481-5555.

Originally published March 8, 2016. Last updated July 9, 2018.

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