Northeastern University Dining Services Blog

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Eating Mindfully: A Positive Perspective on Food

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 | 9:34 AM Posted by Northeastern Dining , , , , , No comments


Guest post by Northeastern graduate student Amy Bull

Mindfulness is the practice of being 100% present in any situation. Mindful eating has benefits that will enhance health and well-being. The current cultural trend is to eat fast food or eat while working, watching TV, playing video games, or even texting. This is convenient with a busy lifestyle while working or attending college. However, this type of convenience has a health price and may result in serious consequences.

Eating carelessly can lead to eating more often and being unaware of fullness. Health and proper nutrition may be forgotten while convenience is practiced. This may lead to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, irritable bowel disease, heartburn, and more. Some of these illnesses can be helped or prevented with the mindfulness technique. Mindfulness when eating can help decrease one’s risk for obesity and has been proven to help with eating disorders. This practice can also assist in healing digestive problems. Overall mindfulness can lead to less stress and greater incite in many situations. Mindful eating begins with focusing on one task at a time such as eating a meal. The best way to stay mindful is to focus on the current task (eating a meal).

Tips for mindful eating:
  1. Prepare meals ahead of time. Take time to arrange the following day’s meals. When you are busy this can take an extra few minutes, but it is worth it. Think about meals beforehand and incorporate fruits and vegetables into them.
  2. Allow 15 minutes or longer of devoted time to meal consumption. Eat while sitting down and concentrate on the flavor, texture, chewing, and finally swallowing foods. Avoid reading, watching TV, or driving while eating. Making this a priority can lessen heartburn, prevent weight gain, ease irritable bowel symptoms, and more.
  3. Try deep breathing before and after meals. This can help you to focus on the meals and resist stray thoughts.
  4. Choose portions/serving sizes adequate for your individual needs. Wait about 10-20 minutes for food to begin digesting and the feeling of fullness to set in, before getting a second plate.
Preparing meals mindfully can help ensure proper nutrition, prevent illness, and assist in current digestive problems. Awareness of what type of food and how food is being consumed in the human body is an important aspect to living healthy. Mindfulness while eating is eating responsibly and this can have a direct positive effect on health and well-being. A mindfulness perspective on eating meals will create positive results!

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Amy Bull is a graduate student of nutritionist Christine Clark in the MS in Applied Nutrition program
through the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University.

Nutritionist Christine Clark works with Dining Services to provide you with tips and techniques to stay healthy during your time at Northeastern. If you have any further questions about this topic or are looking for more information about any other nutrition or diet topic, such as food allergies or sports nutrition, please contact her at christine.clark2@compass-usa.com.

References:
  1. Greenway, V. "The Center for Mindful Eating." Retrieved February 10, 2012. www.tcme.org
  2. Vangess, S. "Mastering the Mindful Meal." Retrieved March 4, 2012. www.brighamandwomens.org

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