What would it be like for you to make your dining experience one of connection, renewal, and nourishment?
This can mean something different for each of us, but it all boils down to some core concepts. Upleveling your dining experience can improve your days in more than one way -- prioritizing connection at mealtimes will help you grow in relationships, slowing down will help with digestion and absorption of nutrients, and enables you to practice mindfulness.
Instead of plugging in when you should be tuning out, try some of these tips for an all-around better dining experience:
1. Create meals you love. If you're in the habit of cooking what you love, you'll look forward to mealtimes much more. This doesn't mean that the meals you make need to be elaborate or take hours to prepare. But when you cook, serve and eat foods that are colorful and flavorful, you'll be much more likely to slow down and savor them.
2. Set the mood. This means paying attention to the environment where you have your meals. For example, it might be easy to grab your plate and head to the couch to catch the news or your favorite comfort show rerun. But setting the table, dimming the lights, even lighting a candle or playing some music can make your mealtime much more enjoyable.
3. Set the pace. Slowing down and enjoying your food really takes your dining experience to the next level. It seems obvious, but being mindful of each bite you take really enhances the flavor. Tap into each of your senses during mealtimes. This means paying attention to the presentation of the food, how it smells, what it tastes like, the texture. When you minimize distractions (like electronics), it allows you to be present.
4. Connection. Connecting with others is another way to be intentional during your meal. Inviting a friend over and practicing the art of conversation helps you to take a breather between bites. We tend to overeat and self-soothe with food when we are feeling lonely. It is harder to get lost in mindless second and third helpings when others are dining with us. You can even plan some Zoom dinners with friends if you live alone.
5. Know your limits. And finally, when you're beginning to feel full, put your fork down. Without distractions, it's easier to listen to our body's cues and know when we are feeling satisfied. Instead, stopping when we are satisfied will leave us in a much better frame of mind. We will look forward to mealtime more if we can finish while feeling energized and satisfied, instead of sluggish and stuffed.
I've found that implementing these practices changed the way I view eating, and I hope they are helpful for you, too. It's genuinely about nourishing your body and mind. When you find your pace and make that mental shift, your mealtimes will be a life-giving part of your day you look forward to every day. If eating is something we do multiple times a day, every day -- let's focus on making it enjoyable and nurturing!
Hi I'm Laura!
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