Mindful Eating

9 Ways to Slow Down During Meals

Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH
Woman pushes food away while eating

Being mindful and more present during meals is a practice that’s becoming more popular lately, and with very good reasons. Mindful eating helps you pay attention and appreciate the food you eat.

Slowing down during meals is also key to sensing and responding to physiological hunger and satiety signals. Lack of awareness of appetite cues may lead to overeating and unwanted weight gain in the long run. On the other hand, learning to eat according to your appetite signals has been shown to benefit healthy weight maintenance1.

Mindful eating practices work best if we break them down into three parts: before, during, and after the meal. Although it may seem like a lot of work to put into the act of eating, over time it’ll be easier, and you’ll be able to reap the positive results. And you don’t have to do all these steps perfectly or even all at once when you’re first starting out. Try incorporating a few of them during one meal a day to start off with, and build from there. Gradually, you’ll learn to become more in tune with your body and eat according to what it really needs.

Here are some ways to help you slow down during meals and become a more mindful eater.

Before the Meal

During the Meal

people reaching for pizza slices

After the Meal

Remember that it takes time to change our habits and make new ones. Reprogramming eating habits is one of the most difficult tasks we can take on, so be gentle with yourself. No negative judgements allowed!

Start out slow, doing what you feel most comfortable with, and keep going from there. This will also help you build more confidence in yourself to continue creating more positive habits. When it comes to adopting healthy lifestyle habits, slow and steady is what really wins the race.

Melissa Nieves

About the Author

Melissa Nieves, LND, RD, MPH is a Registered Nutritionist Dietitian. She was born and lives in Puerto Rico, where she also began her career. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, and a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus. She’s been a Registered Dietitian for over 15 years, and now works as a clinical dietitian at a private hospital in San Juan, PR. She’s also the founder of the website Fad Free Nutrition Blog.

Learn More about Melissa Nieves

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The opinions provided in this article are those of the author alone, and in no way imply an endorsement by Gelesis Inc. The information in this article should not be used as a substitute for talking with your healthcare professional. Always talk with your healthcare professional about diagnosis and treatment information.