Mindful eating is an approach to food that focuses on being fully present while you’re eating. It also increases awareness of your thoughts, senses and feelings during and after you eat. It can be very easy to fall into the habit of eating on the go or at your desk working through your lunch, not really paying attention to what you are eating, and this can lead to us consuming more food in one sitting if we are eating fast. It takes around 20 minutes for the stomach to realise that it is full so eating quickly and not paying attention to what you are eating can result in missing that fullness cue.
However, mindful eating can help with this.
Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation, by respective of your own inner wisdom
Using all your senses to choose to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body
Acknowledging responses to food without judgement (likes, dislikes, neutral)
Becoming aware of physical hunger, and fullness cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating
Research has shown there are a lot of benefits to eating mindfully such as:
It promotes healthier eating habits
It can lead to sustainable weight loss
It reduces stress, including diabetes related stress
Can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety
Improves health-related quality of life
Here are some tips to help you to begin eating more mindfully:
Take a pause between each bite – it takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal that we are full, so taking a pause can help stop overeating
Be aware of each bite – Is it warm? Crunchy? Soft? Salty? This will help you to experience the meal
Remove distractions – Try not to eat whilst working, or on the go. Take the time out to sit down and enjoy the food that you are eating
Notice when you are full – When you are starting to feel full, stop eating and see how you feel. If you notice that you then become hungry again in a few minutes, then carry on eating. But listen to those hunger and fullness ques
Benelam V (2009) ‘Satiation, satiety and their effects on eating behaviour’, Nutrition bulletin, 34(2), pp. 126-173.
Miller CK (2017) ‘Mindful eating with diabetes’, Diabetes Spectrum, 30(2), pp. 89-94. Mindfulness Association (2021) Mindful eating: A review of the research. Available at:
research/ (Accessed on 6 April 2023).