When it comes to health, it’s not always about what you eat, but how you eat. Are you someone who waits until you’re starving before cooking a meal? Maybe you’re a perpetual breakfast-skipper or eat until you are full to the brim. Mindful eating is all about forming new habits that focus on the way food tastes and how it makes you feel.

Like any habit, especially those focusing on mindfulness, intentional eating takes time to master. Here are some tips to help understand the process and get started.

Start Small

To start your intentional eating journey, take it one step at a time. Make one meal a day a Mindful Meal. Try these five tips from our mindfulness blog.

  1. Choose a quiet, distraction-free environment.
  2. Before you begin eating, take three deep breaths.
  3. Check-in with your hunger level. Rate it on a scale from 1-10.
  4. Take your first bite. Chew slowly, noting flavor, texture and your enjoyment.
  5. Continue eating slowly and attentively, without distraction.

Understanding Food and How it Affects your Health

You’ve heard plenty of times throughout your life — to be healthy, you need to eat healthily. So how do you start?

  1. Choose food full of nutrients. Look for foods with vitamins, minerals, fiber and other healthy ingredients.
  2. Avoid foods high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugars.
  3. Fill half your plate with veggies to ensure you get the recommended daily intake.
  4. Choose whole grain when it comes to bread, pasta and other carbs.
  5. Opt for low fat dairy, such as skim or 1% milk.
  6. Choose water instead of sugary drinks. Infuse with fruit for added flavor.
  7. Understand the benefits of eating healthy.

Understanding calories is a big factor when it comes to mindful eating. Calories help our bodies measure how much energy we have stored up to burn, but not all calories are good. Some foods contain “empty” calories, meaning they have no nutritional value— . Including things like chips, cookies and soda.

On the other hand, fruit and veggies contain calories and nutrients that give your body the fuel it needs. Finding a balance will help you live a more energetic lifestyle, helping you feel better mentally and physically.

For more information on vitamins and minerals that nourish our bodies and how they work, visit ShapeYourFutureOK.com and check out our Health Quiz.