The Art of Eating Mindfully

In this Article


For years my relationship with food was purely hedonistic. While eating can and should be a pleasurable experience, oftentimes it comes at the expense of how we feel after. We’ve all mindlessly shoveled junk food in our mouths at one point or another, only to feel it sit in our gut— or ate more than we needed to only to feel uncomfortably full. I’m definitely guilty of both of these on multiple accounts.

Before I started my mindfulness journey, I’d eat dairy even though it made me bloated and sick. I’d enjoy a large hunk of red meat even though I always felt lethargic after, and I’d snack out of boredom rather than hunger. 

I know that I am not alone in this feeling, the relationship we have with food often revolves around convenience, speed, and instant gratification. We are surrounded by countless fast-food chains, processed meals, and quick fixes that satisfy our taste buds but may not nourish our bodies or minds. In this pursuit of instant satisfaction, we often lose touch with the important connection between what we eat and how we feel.

When I started to become conscious about how the food I ate and what my body’s reaction was to it, I started to notice the connection between what I ate and how I felt. I started to cut out certain things from my diet. My body naturally gravitated toward more plant-based whole foods, so that’s what I started to give it. At first, it was almost a shock to the system. It was like I was for the first time feeling what my body was supposed to feel like. I was energized and mentally clear, I felt empowered rather than weighed down. 

The great thing is this feeling is open to any and everyone— and while it’s true that all body types are different and what I eat might not work for you, if you learn to tune into it, your body will tell you what it wants and needs. This is where the art of eating mindfully comes into play. By embracing mindful nutrition, we can make better food choices and tap into the ancient wisdom of food as fuel and medicine.

Mindful Eating Benefits

By developing a deeper connection with what we eat and bringing awareness to how eating mindfully fuels us, we can achieve numerous benefits:

  • Improved physical health: First and foremost, by making more informed food choices, we can ensure that our bodies receive the nutrients they need to thrive. Food after all is not only for pleasure, it’s our fuel.

  • Enhanced mental well-being: Did you know that food has a significant impact on your mood? Conscious eating allows us to become more aware of the connection between food and our emotions, helping us manage stress and anxiety, and promoting a sense of inner peace.

  • Stronger connection to nature and the environment: Mindful food choices help us appreciate the interconnectedness of all living beings and the natural resources that sustain us.

  • Ethical and sustainable living: By choosing food that is responsibly sourced and produced, we contribute to a more compassionate and sustainable world.

  • Deeper appreciation for the sensory experience of eating: Conscious eating helps us fully savor and enjoy the taste, texture, and aroma of our meals.

Mindful Eating Exercises:

If you want to master anything in life, it all comes down to practice and that’s where mindful eating exercises come into play. These ideas are all here to help you tap into your intuition to hear what your body needs, and to help you make the necessary lifestyle changes to start eating mindfully. The more you work your mindful eating muscle, the more natural it will start to become. 


  • Develop a deep awareness of your body’s needs and hunger signals: Becoming in tune with your body’s cues for hunger and satiety is essential for making conscious food choices. Start by recognizing when you’re truly hungry or when you’re eating out of boredom, stress, or other emotional triggers. Pay attention to how specific foods make you feel, both physically and mentally, and use this insight to guide your food choices. By honoring your body’s needs, you’ll be able to maintain a healthier relationship with food and develop a more balanced approach to eating.

  • Prioritize whole, unprocessed foods: Nutrient-dense, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds provide essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support optimal health. These foods are the foundation of a well-balanced diet and are associated with numerous health benefits, including reduced risk of chronic disease. In contrast, processed foods tend to be high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. Make a conscious effort to fill your plate with whole foods and minimize processed items to promote better health and well-being.

  • Embrace variety and balance: A diverse array of foods in your diet ensures that you receive a wide range of nutrients necessary for optimal health. Aim for a colorful plate filled with different textures and flavors to make your meals enjoyable and nourishing. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. By incorporating a wide range of foods into your meals, you’ll be more likely to enjoy a balanced and satisfying diet.

  • Consider the source: The quality of the food you consume matters just as much as the quantity. Whenever possible, choose local, organic, and sustainably-produced foods. Supporting local farmers not only helps to reduce the environmental impact of food production but also ensures that you’re consuming fresh, nutrient-dense ingredients. Studies have shown that organic produce often contains higher levels of certain nutrients and lower levels of pesticide residues compared to conventionally-grown produce.

  • Slow down and savor: Eating slowly and mindfully allows you to truly appreciate the flavors, textures, and aromas of your meal. By giving yourself the time to savor each bite, you’ll be more likely to recognize when you’re full and avoid overeating. Studies have shown that slow, mindful eating can lead to increased satiety and reduced calorie intake, supporting weight management and overall health.

  • Cultivate gratitude: Practicing gratitude before each meal can enhance the overall eating experience and serve as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all living beings. By expressing gratitude for the nourishment that food provides, you’ll foster a deeper appreciation for the role of food in your life and the lives of others. Research suggests that gratitude practices can lead to a variety of mental, emotional, and physical health benefits, including improved well-being, reduced stress, and better sleep.

  • Create a mindful eating environment: To fully embrace conscious eating, it’s important to cultivate a peaceful, distraction-free environment for your meals. Turn off electronic devices, such as televisions and smartphones, and focus on being present with your food and your dining companions. This will help you better appreciate your meal and foster deeper connections with others while you eat. Research has shown that eating in a calm, focused environment can lead to healthier food choices and improved digestion.

  • Make informed food choices: Understanding the nutritional content of the foods you consume is crucial for making conscious food choices. Take the time to learn about the nutritional benefits of various foods, as well as the potential impact of certain ingredients on your health. By educating yourself on the nutritional aspects of your diet, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions that support your overall well-being.

  • Plan your meals: Planning your meals in advance can help you maintain a balanced, mindful approach to eating. By organizing your meals around whole, unprocessed foods and incorporating a variety of nutrients, you’ll be more likely to make conscious food choices throughout the day. Additionally, meal planning can help reduce food waste and save time and money

  • Share your journey with others: Embracing conscious eating can be a transformative experience, and sharing your journey with friends and family can help strengthen your commitment to this mindful approach. By discussing your experiences, challenges, and successes, you’ll create a supportive community that encourages growth and self-discovery.

  • Seek professional guidance if needed: If you’re struggling to adopt a conscious eating approach, consider seeking guidance from a registered dietitian or nutritionist. These professionals can provide personalized advice and support to help you develop a mindful eating plan that meets your unique needs and goals.

Remember you don’t have to make a complete 180 with your eating habits overnight. Mindful eating is a journey that takes practice and patience. By incorporating mindful eating exercises into your daily life, such as paying attention to your body’s hunger signals, prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods, embracing variety and balance, and cultivating gratitude, you can develop a more balanced and fulfilling relationship with food.

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