Be Your Best with Mindful Eating, by Cindy Chan Phillips, MS, MBA, RD

March is National Nutrition Month®. Let’s take this beautiful occasion to talk about you, yes, YOU! Not superfoods, not calories, not carbs. I often begin my nutrition talks by asking the audience how many of them know about heart-healthy eating, as recommended by the American Heart Association. Almost half the room raise their hands. Then I ask how many of them are actually practicing the guidelines in their lives. Almost all the hands go down. What happens? There are many factors to building a successful healthy eating lifestyle. I believe what goes on in our daily lives determines what goes on our plates.

Mindful eating is eating with the intention of caring for yourself, according to Michelle May MD, author and founder of the Am I Hungry® Mindful Eating programs. Could satisfaction be the missing link in mindfulness? Alissa Rumsey RD, NYC dietitian, blogged about the importance of feeling satisfied, not just feeling full. I have asked several successful dietitians to share their favorite mindful eating tip with us.

Slow Down and Take a Pause
Slowing down and inserting a “pause” allows you the space to reflect on the taste, texture, and flavors of whatever you are eating. Not only will this make for a more enjoyable experience, but it can also help you tune into your hunger and fullness signals. Taking your time, sitting at a table and chewing slowly can support mindfulness, and assist in fulfilling your body’s needs. –Alissa Rumsey, MS, RDN, founder of , and creator of the Five-Minute Mindful Eating Exercise.

Am I really hungry?
Before grabbing a snack, ask yourself a few questions: Am I bored? Am I avoiding work? Do I feel anxious or stressed? Or am I really hungry? If it is anything besides hunger, try to find ways to cope with those emotions that don’t involve food like going for a walk, calling a friend or loved one, or meditating for 5 minutes. – Toby Amidor, MS, RDN award winning nutrition expert and Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author.

Engage your senses
If you’ve ever had a cold, or if you have ever eaten in the dark, you may have noticed that you’re not as interested in what you’re eating. That’s because all of our senses are involved in the enjoyment of food. Before you start eating, look at your food, smell your food, and touch your food. Explore the taste to decipher the flavors on your taste buds. Using all your senses helps you be more mindful about eating. – Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, New York-based culinary nutrition expert and author of 52-Week Meal Planner.

Reduce Distractions
Take baby steps in your journey toward mindful eating. A good place to start is assessing meal-time distractions. Are you enjoying lunch, or scrolling through your Instagram feed? Is the TV on during dinner, or are you truly tuned in to what’s on your plate? Pick a meal and commit to making it technology-free for an entire week. You might be surprised by how much more you enjoy your food. – Nicole Rodriguez, RDN, NASM-CPT, founder of

Red, Orange and Green rule
To make eating healthy fun and realistic, focus on our “Red, Orange and Green” Rule, at each meal. Make sure to include either a red, orange or green colored fruit or vegetable. This way, you’ll be making an effort to pick a beautifully colored food that will not only make your plate look more appealing, but it will also help to make you feel satisfied with nutrient packed wholesome, nutritious food. – Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos-Shames RDN, CDN, CFT, founders of The Nutrition Twins

Be Your Best with Mindful Eating, by Cindy Chan Phillips, MS, MBA, RD
Let’s celebrate the joy of food this National Nutrition Month®. This Beef Steak & Black Bean Soft Tacos recipe gets extra flavor from a black bean and salsa paste and fresh toppings. This recipe is certified by the American Heart Association®.

Cindy Chan Phillips, MS, MBA, RD is the director of nutrition education of the non-profit New York Beef Council. Follow her on twitter @nybeefnutrition, or reach her at [email protected].

For more heart healthy information, recipes and more visit Follow us on Twitter @WNYHeart or Facebook & Instagram @AHANewYork. #NutritionMonth #LifeiswhyBuffalo

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