What is mindful eating meditation? Food for thought

Food is a life-giver, keeps us healthy and strong. If there is one main thing that every being needs, that is food. No matter how much you like food, it should be taken at a moderate level.  

Ordering pizza for dinner sounds yum. Yet, you have to be mindful of your eating habits. This article serves you some food for thought in embedding mindfulness in your eating habits.

What is mindful eating?

Mindful eating simply means paying attention when you are eating. It also means to be watchful about the craving or aversion you create toward certain foods. In short, you should have a balanced mind in eating and you should balance what you eat.

What happens when you do not eat with mindfulness?

  • You will not know what you eat or how much you eat
  • You are not conscious of the moment
  • If you eat a lot regularly, you will gain weight
  • You will have health issues
  • You cannot enjoy your meal

What are the benefits of mindful eating?

  • You will serve only what you can eat
  • You will not waste food
  • You will not eat for a void
  • You will not feel drowsy because you do not eat an excessive amount
  • You can finish your meal with a sense of appreciation for those who prepared it
  • You will be in control of what you eat
  • You can maintain a healthy body and mind

When can I practice mindful eating?

You can practice mindfulness in every meal you have. All you need to do is to be conscious from the moment you start eating until the end.

Can I meditate while eating?

If you are a regular meditation practitioner, you can maintain mindfulness while eating. Have the meal in silence while observing the different sensations that arise as you eat.

If you are an advanced practitioner, you can also observe the impermanent nature of different sensations you feel.

continue with your practice during meals by applying mindfulness while eating.

How to practice mindfulness in eating?

If you are new to mindful eating do the following:

  • Reflect

When you feel hungry, take a moment to reflect. See if you really feel hungry, stressed out, or bored. Most of the time, we want to eat because of other reasons than hunger.

Upon reflection, you can focus on what you actually want to do.

  • Keep aside digital media

After a tiresome day, nothing feels better than a delicious meal on the couch while watching your favorite movie right? However, that is not the way to go. You should give full attention when you are eating. Remember to keep aside all digitals like tv or the mobile before you go to the dining table.

  • Do not eat while engaged in other work

All of us live a busy life so we have our meals on the way or while doing other work. If you want to add mindfulness into eating, leave all other work and sit down for a few minutes to have your meal.

  • Be grateful

If your mom made this meal for you take a moment to say “thank you.” That makes a sense of appreciation toward others who put their effort to make the meal for you. 

  • Be mindful about the portion size

The mind plays a very tricky game when it comes to food. Most of the time we serve more than actually what the body needs. Pay attention to how much you serve on the plate. Always start with a small quantity so that you can serve more as you eat.

  • Play mindful eating game

Following is a little activity you can start during your meals.

  • When you start moving your hand or utensils to grab the food, slow down. Apply mindfulness to the motion of your hand. Now pick your food slowly
  • Once you pick the food, pay attention on the motion when you direct it back to the mouth.
  • Open mouth and place the food slowly
  • Chew food while observing how the food mixes with saliva
  • Be sensitive to the different tastes given by the food items on your plate
  • Observe how you feel the taste and how it arises and passes away
  • Be attentive when you swallow food
  • Stop eating as soon as you feel full

This is how you play the mindful eating game.

More tips to improvise mindful eating

You can extend the mindfulness from the moment you note down the grocery list.

Take a moment to think about what you really need for the particular week or month. Having your grocery list handy helps you avoid any temptation to buy unnecessary food items.

How do you observe the impermanent nature of eating?

  • To observe the impermanent nature of the different tastes, first, touch the food with your hands. Feel if it is hard or smooth
  • Then place it in your mouth slowly and bite
  • Notice the different sensations arise as you chew food
  • Pay attention on one particular sensation
  • Notice how it arises and passes away
  • Now focus on a different sensation and notice how it also arises and passes away
  • Once you swallow food, the taste disappears completely

This is what happens every time you eat. You cannot feel the taste more than for a few seconds. It always passes away. Mindfulness in eating is a good opportunity for you to understand the impermanent nature of tastes you feel.

Once you realize the impermanence, craving toward delicious food and aversion toward food not so delicious get dissolved. Also, you will not overeat because you will know when your tummy is full.

Different health conditions such as obesity, cholesterol, and diabetes are common problems in the current world. These issues occur due to our own unhealthy eating habits. We do not plan our meals mindfully and eat junk food too often. Later on, we face various health issues as a result of our eating habits.

Also when you apply mindfulness in eating, you can fully enjoy your meal. You will be sensitive even to subtle tastes given by different food items in your meal. Also you will be eating at a slower speed than usual. Therefore, experience the different food experience you get with mindfulness.

Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash


Rathsara (Sara) is an attorney-at-law who holds a Diploma in Buddhist Studies in ITBMU. She has engaged in community service in Sri Lanka and the United States helping many individuals. She is interested in reading, writing, and researching areas related to mindfulness. Inspired by spiritually developed individuals around the globe, Rathsara is keen to learn and practice mind-developing techniques. In the meantime, she would like to share her experience and knowledge for the well-being of others.

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