soup in CT, 2011

Do you find that you’ve eaten a few bites or even an entire meal without actually tasting it?

Maybe it’s because you’re busy and constantly eating on the go. Maybe it’s because you get sucked into distractions like the TV, phone or computer. Or maybe it’s because you’ve spent years dieting, which has blunted your taste buds.

Mindful eating helps us to slow down and actually savor the foods we’re eating.

When we slow down, we can enjoy our food. We can determine if we even like the food we’re eating in the first place. When we pay closer attention to what we’re eating, we can make conscious choices that nourish our bodies.

In her book, Eat, Drink and Be Mindful, author Susan Albers, PsyD, includes an easy-to-remember acronym that helps us do just that.

Temperature: What is the temperature of the food you’re eating? According to Albers, you might use these words to describe the temp: “hot, cold, scalding, room temperature, icy, boiling, frigid, cooled, chilled or burning.”

Aroma: As Albers writes, “The majority of what you taste is based on what you smell.” Before taking a bite of your food, she suggests breathing in its aroma. Does the smell remind you of anything? Does it trigger an emotional reaction?

Speed: When you’re eating, pay attention to your pace. Do you eat very slowly or just shovel food in your mouth?

Texture: Albers encourages readers to think beyond identifying food as good or bad tasting. She suggests we become discerning with our descriptors. Here are a few of her examples: “crispy,” “watery,” “chewy,” “creamy,” “greasy,” “succulent,” “dry,” or “doughy.”

Experience: Think about what the food tastes like. Is it spicy, sweet or salty? What’s your reaction to eating this food? “Enjoyment? Displeasure? Surprise? Disgust.”

Do you find the above tip helpful? What helps you slow down and savor your food?

P.S., Don’t forget to comment on this post to win a copy of Susannah Conway’s beautiful book!