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  • Writer's pictureElise Johnson

Mindful Mealtime Makeovers

Updated: 3 days ago


Picture of a mother eating a meal with her child. Food on table is a salad.
Mindful Mealtime Makeovers

As an integrative nutrition health coach, one of my favorite ways to help my valuable clients is to empower them with information, or knowledge. Have you ever thought about the food choices you make on a daily basis? Have you considered how your world ends up on the plate? Let me break it down for you a bit (speaking of digestion, the pun is intended). :-)

You can absolutely improve your overall digestive health by practicing a few simple, small changes, or shifts.

1) Instead of slouching over while you eat, standing in your kitchen or in the pantry eating, or eating out of box, choose to sit down for your meal. Try your best to sit up nice and straight (this will get easier with practice, too!). Correct posture has an immense effect on how you digest your food. By sitting while eating, you are slowing down your digestion which will lead to optimal digestion and nutrient absorption. Isn’t that something? When you sit, you are sending energy to your gut rather than to your legs.

2) Don’t rush. Eating slowly helps to prevent GI distress. Chew your food until it is liquified. This will take practice, but will become second nature to you. Take smaller bites, allow time for each meal. Put your fork down in between bites. Avoid drinking water during your meals. By chewing your food well (this is both mechanical and chemical digestion), you will help to avoid bloating and overeating.

3) Avoid rushing into a meal when you are feeling anxious or stressed. Consider taking deep breaths, stopping to give thanks for the food you are about to enjoy and reflecting on where it came from. Listen to relaxing music. We love having a diffuser in our home. The use of organic essential oils are both pleasant and medicinal. Lavender is one of many calming essential oils.


4) Avoid scrolling through your phone or iPad or watching television while you eat. This will encourage you to be present and help you appreciate the food and those you are eating with. Your five senses will be more in tuned with the food and your surroundings. Notice the colors of your food, the textures, the smells, the sounds, and the tastes.


5) Instead of reaching for food when you’re not hungry, check in with yourself. You may find keeping a food journal very helpful. When reaching for food, write down your feelings. Do you feel physical sensations of hunger? Has a specific emotion bubbled up? If you are not truly hungry, are you feeling bored, tired, or stressed? Instead of snacking on autopilot, take a nap, call a friend or family member to check in, read a book, or go for a walk. If you are truly hungry, then enjoy a snack or a meal!

6) Instead of eating until all the food has been cleared from your plate, try using physical rather than visual cues for ending your meal. I changed this habit of feeling comforted by a full tummy, which always led to me to feeling very quickly unwell afterwards, by using the hunger scale from 1-10. We often find it challenging to avoid overeating if we allow ourselves to eat once we are starving. From a scale of 1-10, 10 being extremely full and 1 being starving, one should try to stop eating at around 5-6. Being aware of this number will help you put your fork down when it’s time and you’ll get better at this as you practice! I promise! If I did it, so can you! And, then it is easy and will become second nature to you.

Remember to be kind to yourself throughout this process. It’s not easy to retrain your mind and change your behavior, but it can absolutely be done with small changes. Your goal should be progress not perfection. Don’t allow stress to creep back in on your plate as a pesky little side dish. Simply pay attention and apply these mindfulness techniques to your mealtimes. Your digestive tract will thank you!

Let’s have a conversation! I would love to hear from you. Have you had any experience in mindful eating? What helpful tips would you offer as well? Are you struggling with this concept? Do you need help?

Until next time…


Be well!


Elise xo

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