How To Eat Mindfully

by team nuut

Slow down, savour and enjoy your food with some simple life tweaks and nuut protein powder.

We aren’t always in the same state of mind when we eat. When hungry or busy, we can eat too quickly, taking larger than normal mouthfuls. Or if we are relaxed, we might take it slower but have something on our mind distracting us from its flavour. When we are not present eating, we can’t appreciate its full range of flavours, texture, colour and aromas.

Mindfulness is a mental state where you focus on the present without judging or being distracted, which helps you feel better and reduces stress. It’s also about focusing on the moment while calmly registering your feelings, thoughts, and bodily senses. Mindfulness is a great technique to help you deal with difficult emotions and situations and can be incorporated into workouts and meditation practices.

It can be applied to eating, too.

Mindful eating means being fully attentive to your food as you buy, prepare, serve, and eat it. Instead of rushing through meals, you take the time to savour each bite and experience the flavours, textures and smells, which helps you become more attuned to your body’s needs and signals. By paying attention to the food you eat it also helps you recognise the good from the bad and prevents you from overindulging in these foods too often.

The art of mindful eating can be achieved by making a few adjustments in your approach to meals and snacks.

Here are some key ways to embrace mindful eating every day.

Shop Thoughtfully

Shopping with a list helps you make more nutritious choices and avoid impulse buys. Shop for foods high in vitamins, minerals, good fats, antioxidants, and fibre, and avoid processed foods with additives and fewer nutrients. Be inspired by a plant-based lifestyle, filling your cart in the fresh produce section. Avoid the meat section and centre aisles stocked with processed foods.

Focussing on whole fruits and vegetables helps you obtain the essential nutrients your body needs to feel and perform at its best, and choosing whole foods instead of juices provides the added benefit of fibre.

Shop for:

• Dark green vegetables, including spinach, broccoli, and kale.

• Red and orange vegetables such as peppers, red cabbage, carrots, and tomatoes.

• Beans, peas, and lentils include chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, and edamame. Look for dry or frozen - both are beneficial and sometimes more practical to store.

• Starchy vegetables, like potatoes and squash.

• Other vegetables including mushrooms, onions, cabbage, and cauliflower.

• Fruits, such as apples, kiwi, bananas, melons, and grapes and citrus including lemons, limes and oranges.

Eat When You’re Hungry – Not Starving

Hunger is your body's cue to eat. When we have pangs, we have control over what we eat, but when we are ravenous, we tend to seek out whatever food can fill that void and make us feel better (hello, cheeseburger and fries!) instead of healthy, low-calorie-dense foods. Getting in touch with your hunger and satiety signals is vital to not overeating or indulging.

Avoid severe hunger pangs by:

• Eating breakfast, or you'll be starving and cranky by mid-morning. Choose a high-protein vegan protein powder like nuut, eggs on wholegrain toast or oatmeal with fresh fruit and plant-based milk to help stave off snack attacks.

• Ensure you have low-calorie snacks on hand throughout the day and drink a big glass of water when the pangs hit; you might just be dehydrated.

• Don't cut calories too drastically if you are watching your weight. It will slow down your metabolism, and you'll always feel hungry. Instead, follow a plant-based lifestyle and focus on eating volumes of low-calorie food like veggies, wholegrain pasta, egg dishes and salads that fill you up and satisfy you. nuut vegan protein powder blended with a banana, water, ice and whole almonds is nutritious, easy to whip together and filling to boot!

• Avoid sugary snacks to prevent your blood sugar from soaring and crashing, leaving you feeling irritable, jittery and famished.

• Eat sufficient protein. Scientific studies show that protein leaves people feeling full longer than carbohydrates. Simply add a sachet of nuut plant-based protein powder to water, shake, sip and good-bye cravings. Find out which potent wholefood ingredients to into every sip of nuut!

Practice Portion Control

Portion control is choosing a healthy amount of food that allows you to gain its nutrients without overeating. It also aids digestion and is a great way to manage your weight. Some valuable ways to practice portion control include serving food on smaller plates and measuring each food type with a measuring cup or scales. Be careful not to double up on carbs, never pick at leftovers and be selective with your seconds.

Bring All Your Senses To The Table

Cooking and eating engage the five senses through the hands-on experiences of seeing, touching, hearing, smelling and tasting.

When you're cooking, serving, and eating your food, be attentive to colour, texture, aroma, and even the sounds different foods make as you prepare them. As you chew your food, try identifying all the ingredients, especially seasonings.

Pause for a minute or two before eating and express your gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy delicious food and the company you're enjoying it with.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

When you take a big bite of food, it is harder to taste, chew, and swallow. If you do get it down, your digestive system must work much harder than it would for more reasonably sized bites.

Eating while distracted generally makes people eat more without awareness, but reducing bite sizes and chewing slowly may counter this effect, according to new studies.

Research also shows some people eat hundreds fewer calories a day if they take the time to chew each small bite longer—preferably for at least nine seconds. Make a habit of eating this way, and eventually, it will become second nature.

Chewing is the first step in digestion and helps the stomach metabolise food by breaking larger food particles into smaller fragments. Chewing also increases saliva production so it can be swallowed without aggravating the oesophagus. If you don't chew your food correctly, larger particles enter the digestive tract, which can cause gas, bloating, constipation, food reactions, headaches and lowered energy levels. Breaking down food into smaller particles also means it is easier for your body to absorb more nutrients.

Chew with your mouth closed, your tongue moving the food from side to side, and your jaw rotating slightly. Chew slowly and steadily until the food in your mouth loses its texture before swallowing. According to studies, while food should be chewed about 32 times and foods that are harder to chew, like steak and nuts, may need up to 40 chews per mouthful.

Vegan protein powders, such as pea, hemp, and rice, make it easy and are generally simpler to digest than animal-based protein powders. nuut is a great option for those following a plant-based lifestyle or who want to eat mindfully but are too time-poor to spend hours at the supermarket. nuut is a complete, balanced, dairy-free protein powder, making it a great option for people with milk allergies. With around 23.5g of plant protein in every serve, it’s perfect for mixing into shakes, smoothies, and even baking to reach your protein goal for the day. Head to our recipe page for some delicious ways to use vegan protein powder.

Nibble on Nutrient-Packed Snacks

When the mid-afternoon nibbles hit, smash cravings mindfully. Reach for berries that help lower blood pressure, fibre-rich almonds that make you feel fuller faster and carrot sticks and celery dipped in hummus for fibre, unsaturated fat, antioxidant vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and iron. A shake made with vegan protein powder, like Perth’s nuut, makes the perfect snack and helps reduce hunger and calorie intake. It's especially helpful for those who struggle with portion control or the constant munchies. 

Mindful eating brings awareness and intention to your meals, and slowly eating and appreciating how food nourishes your body can improve your relationship with food. Put aside the distractions, take a deep breath, and embark on a mindful eating journey to nourish your body and mind.