by Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE
To be mindful is to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness is quite trendy yet also challenging for many moms – especially during the holiday season. Being mindful is particularly important in regard to eating when you consider that we make hundreds of eating decisions each day. Mindful eating practices help to form a healthy relationship with food which is something worth modeling to children growing up in a culture that demonizes certain ways of eating. Below are some examples of mindful eating strategies.
Savor the flavors of food: Use all of your senses to choose and enjoy the flavor and nourishing properties of all foods. Part of the idea behind savoring foods is to avoid labeling food as good or bad therefore allowing the enjoyment of food in the absence of guilt.
Notice feelings in your body: Become aware of physical hunger and satiety cues; allow them to guide your decisions to begin and end eating. Notice how your stomach feels or if you are energized or sluggish.
Give thanks: Thoughts of gratitude allow the body to switch from the sympathetic (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous system, this can improve digestion.
Focus on your food: Enjoy the eating experience, turn off the TV and remove the phone from the table.
Slow down: Tricks like putting the fork down between bites, or taking a sip of water between every couple bites and chewing twenty times works to help slow the eating process. As a mom, slowing down can seem difficult. Mindful eating does not have to take much longer than hurried eating. Start by focusing on eating, breathe in, breathe out; relax and you may find you linger just a touch longer because you can.
Change your environment: This strategy is not really a mindful eating practice but more the strategy that helps sustain mindful eating. For example, clear the table and create a nice eating environment, purchase delicious health promoting foods and prepare them for easy eating (thus allowing more time to savor).
Winter Fresh Salad with Citrus Dressing
This salad is a welcome burst of citrus flavor during the winter months. The combination of flavors and textures make it easy to savor and give thanks, enjoy!
6 cups of mixed greens
½ golden delicious apple (diced—eat the other half for snack)
½ cup diced red onion
¼ cup toasted almonds or other nut of choice
1 large orange or 2 small oranges, peeled and sliced
2 Kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 medium pomegranate, seeded
To prepare salad place greens on a platter, sprinkle with chopped apples, almonds, and red onion. Then place sliced oranges and sliced kiwis on top of the greens. Lastly sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve with dressing on the side.
1 teaspoon orange rind
2 tablespoon red onion, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoon fresh orange juice (could use pomegranate or lemon juice)
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
To make dressing, combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Stream the olive oil in through the top while running the food processor to emulsify the dressing. Extra dressing can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Yield: 6 servings (1 ½ cup salad, 1 tablespoon dressing)
Nutrition Breakdown: Calories 150, Fat 6g, Sodium 65mg, Carbohydrate 20g, Fiber 4g, Protein 3g
Diabetes Exchanges: 1 vegetable, 1 fruit, 1 fat
Kim Beavers is a Registered Dietitian and Diabetes Educator for University Health Care System. She lives in North Augusta with her husband and two children and she is the co-host of the culinary nutrition segment Eating Well with Kim, which airs at noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday on WRDW. To be notified of new recipes join Kim’s facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/eatingwellwithkim. To search for specific recipes go to www.universityhealth.org/ewwk. You can also watch the segments at www.wrdw.com/ewwk.
This article appears in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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