Mind Your Manners: How You Eat Matters as Much as What You Consume

healthy burritosThe movement towards healthy eating is changing the way consumers chose restaurants when eating out. Consumers are more likely to seek affordable, fast-casual healthy food places. Baja Fresh Franchise, a Mexican restaurant chain offering all-fresh, fire-grilled fare, notes that all-natural and farm-fresh ingredients keep customers coming back to these restaurants. There is even a market willing to pay a premium for healthier meals.

Healthy or mindful eating doesn’t end there, however. The manner of consumption is as much of a factor as the food itself.

Healthy Food and Healthy Techniques

The mindful eating trend involves considering how ingredients are sourced and switching to sustainably produced food — but it also emphasizes the manner in which the consumer eats the food.

The principle of eating mindfully, which is rooted in mindfulness or meditation, forgoes eating mechanically and quickly. Instead, the eater is encouraged to take their time with the activity. It’s a collection of techniques designed to help people pay more attention to their body’s cues, their cravings, and eating habits.

Slowly but Surely

Practicing mindful eating a little bit at a time helps form the habit. Instead of switching gears immediately, it’s better to try one or two mindful eating techniques each meal time. Two simple techniques to help slow down when eating are to unplug from technology and pausing in between taking bites of food.

Smartphones, computers, and TVs are distractions during meal times. Paying more attention to technology contributes to eating too quickly and more than recommended. Pausing between each bite, either by putting utensils down while chewing or chewing food more, lets you savor the food and also aids in digestion.

Eat to Lose Weight

It takes the brain nearly 20 minutes before it recognizes the chemicals the stomach released to signal that it’s full. Therefore, people who eat slowly are more likely to feel full faster — and with less amount of food — than those who eat too quickly. Those who finish eating a full meal in less than 20 minutes would often continue to feel hungry, leading to overeating.

While it’s important to be aware of how food is sourced and prepared, it is equally important to pay attention to one’s eating habits. Applying both aspects of mindful eating leads to healthier lifestyles.