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How to Eat Mindfully

It can have a measured impact on your other wellness goals.

Sitting down to eat, putting food on plates, and relishing every bite can help you gauge feelings of fullness, savor a meal, and make eating something that’s deliberate. “Mindless eating leaves one vulnerable to consuming extra calories and not feeling satisfied,” says Ilyse Schapiro, RD, a dietitian in private practice in the New York City area.

Here, three simple steps to help busy athletes be present when eating.

1. Slow down.

“When we eat slowly, we consume less. We feel more satisfied, calmer, happier, and digest better too. We stress less and enjoy our food more,” says John Berardi, Ph.D., co-founder of Precision Nutrition. When you feel yourself rushing, have a slow sip of water. This can help promote fullness (and hydration) ensuring that you’re nourishing body and mind.

2. Choose the right bites.

You probably pass on processed foods because they lack nutrition. But another reason to skip the snacks is that their enjoyment factor isn’t very high, since they tend to have one-note flavors and too-simple textures that aren’t worth savoring. You can appreciate the way tang and sweetness play off of each other in healthier options such as cottage cheese topped with fruit.

3. Accept the journey.

Perfection isn’t required. If mindful eating is a struggle for you, make it your only goal for the moment, rather than trying to revamp exercise habits or eat clean all the time. This one change can have a measured impact on your other goals. For example, focusing on slowing down can help you stop when you’re full. You’ll leave the table feeling satisfied and happy. This fuels a more productive, healthful day.