“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

Special Blog Post By: Diana Garcia, Nutrition Education Coordinator, Santa Clara County

Our eating habits have changed throughout the years and part of it is due to the introduction of new technology, the business of our lives, and the way our modern world works.

It is common to find people eating in front of the computer, with a smart phone in their hands, biting on a sandwich while driving, or multi-tasking while having a meal. For many of us, this has become the new normal. What else can we do if there are so many activities to fit in our day?

Unfortunately when we add distractions to our meals, we are missing out on the real pleasure of eating. It is easier to ignore our bodily cues for fullness and our relationship with food changes. The good news is that there are many ways we can get back to eating while completely being engaged in the experience.

Reserve time and space for your meals: At work, at home, at school, or anywhere else, try to block a regular special time to eat. Walk away from distractions and find a place that is comfortable, clean, and makes you feel good. If possible, enlist someone to join you for lunch or any other meal. Research shows that eating with other people enhances your sense of wellbeing.

Turn your attention to your body: Ask yourself about the emotions associated at the time of eating. Am I hungry? Am I stressed? Am I bored? This will help you understand your bodily cues and the reasons behind your desire to eat. This is especially true when snacking, as some of us reach for food for a reason other than hunger. Lastly, honor your fullness. If you are completely immersed in your eating experience, you are more likely to stop eating when you feel satisfied.

Enjoy the special qualities of food: One of the benefits of eating while being completely present is that we enjoy our food more. We can pay attention to the taste, texture, and other qualities of food that we usually ignore if distractions are involved. The next time you eat, try closing your eyes and pay attention to the special qualities of your food. This mindfulness exercise may surprise you!

As part of our nutrition education program, “mindful and intuitive eating” is becoming a very relevant part of the presentations and the interactions that we have with clients. When we eat with intention, we enjoy our food more and are more likely to eat foods that are right for us. With the holidays coming up, this is especially important since food is a main component of our celebrations.

***Catch up on our past Nutrition Newbie posts.