Tips on Eating Mindfully, by Ellie Krieger
Excerpted from Small Changes Big Results

When working with groups and individuals, I have often used this classic meditation exercise. Each participant takes one raisin and concentrates on the experience of eating it—from first enjoying its texture and aroma to gradually chewing and savoring the taste. When they stop to focus on this exercise, people are always amazed at how much flavor is contained in one tiny fruit and how many sensations arise from it.

One of the goals of the exercise is to teach you to slow down and really appreciate food and all its sensory properties. The frenzy of everyday life often leads us to gobble down our food mindlessly. But thoughtless, speedy eating isn’t satisfying and can cause overeating and digestive problems. The next time you sit down to a meal, try these exercises, and encourage your family and friends to participate.

• Say grace. Offering thanks—to God or whomever you wish to thank—not only for the delicious food but the abundance we enjoy, calms you and focuses your mind on the activity.

• Consider the food. Instead of grabbing for your fork, enjoy the aroma and look of the food before you begin to eat—take in all of its sensory pleasure.

• Eat slowly. You don’t need to chew each bite 40 times, but do savor each bite, chewing slowly. Experience the food’s complex and subtle flavors.

• Pay attention. Even when you are eating on the go, find a moment to focus mindfully on your eating experience. You’ll feel more satisfied if you concentrate on your food instead of trying to work, read, or watch television while you eat.