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7 Tips for eating with your senses

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

SENSUOUS EATING FILLS YOU

Eating for health is not just what you eat, it is also how you eat. When is the last time you leisurely ate a ripe mango, inhaling its tropical essence, eyeing its vibrant orange hue, nibbling at its tender sweet flesh, and luxuriating in each juicy bite as its sensuous taste filled your mouth? When is the last time you ate any food with that much awareness?

Eating sensually is about slowing down, engaging all of your senses to experience the many wonderful nuances of the foods you eat, and sincerely savoring every morsel you put in your mouth. When you choose to be enraptured with what you eat, you will find that you consciously seek out and prepare foods that taste really good to you.

When you practice eating with attention and intention, you will likely eat less because slowly savoring your meals allows you to recognize when you are hungry and when you are full. Eating with your senses gives diet a pleasurable new meaning.

These seven tips will help you connect to your senses and truly savor your food.

1. Create a relaxing atmosphere.

Turn off distractions, such as television and phones. Turn on relaxing music or nature sounds or simply create a haven of quiet. View your meal as a mini-vacation.

2. Get comfortable.

Sit comfortably in an easy upright position, preferably on a cushioned surface. Good posture promotes proper digestion. And we are what we digest, so giving your body the chance to do it right is key in getting the nutritional most from your meals.

3. Breathe.

Take a few moments to deeply inhale the aroma of your eats. Discern the sweet waft of cut banana, the sensuous smell of hot melting cheese on toasted rye, or the tart piquancy of balsamic vinaigrette on a fresh salad. Breathing will not only mark the beginning of your meal, it will also create a sense of mind-body relaxation.

4. Take a look.

View your food as an art form that asks for its colors and shapes to be savored. Pay attention to the purple roundness of a grape, the vibrant greenness of a single spinach leaf, and the juicy pink center of a medium-rare steak.

5. Engage in mindful chewing.

Eschew the urge to wolf your meals. Slow down and place bite-sized pieces of food in your mouth and let each morsel tantalize your lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. Do the same with a drink of fine wine, a lush smoothie, or sip of chocolate milk. Feel the varying textures and, most important, revel in the burst of various flavors on your palate. Close your eyes occasionally and fully indulge in the sustenance in your mouth.

6. Eat at your leisure.

Slowly relish your meal until you are comfortably full. Hapless gobbling forces too much food down too quickly and gluts your digestive system. However, it does not satisfy your mind that you have eaten enough. Satiety takes about 20 minutes to register, even if your stomach started bulging 10 minutes before. Likewise, too many beverages during your meal will dilute your digestive juices and potentially hinder your ability to determine if you have had enough to eat. Instead of gulping, slowly sip your liquids.

7. Sit with your completed meal.

When you are finished with your eats, take a few deep breaths, smile and recollect the pleasures you have just enjoyed. You have experienced a sensational meal and deserve to grin about it. If you end up with food leftover on your plate, package it up to eat later. You may find that eating sensually results in you needing to downsize your portion-sizes.

Aim to eat with all of your senses, even if it's just on occasion. The more times you allow yourself the luxury of eating sensually, the more likely "eating on the slow" will become second nature.

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