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Scientific evidence shows that the root of many health problems stems from poor dietary habits. While we know the type and amount of foods affects our health, many people still suffer from signs and symptoms of a poor diet.

Do you want to adopt a more nutritious and balanced diet to improve your health and quality of life? If so, keep reading!

What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating is simply eating with awareness. How many times have you eaten and not even realized what you ate or, worse yet, how much? We all know that what we eat is important. But so is how we eat. In our world of multitasking, it's easy to think about mealtimes as something to "fit in" to our schedules rather than taking the time to really enjoy our food.

If you want to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, improve your relationship with food. Of if you just want ot enjoy your food more, the following mindful eating tools can help.

Know when to eat and when to stop

  • Ask yourself: How hungry am I? Rate your hunger on scale of 1-10 before, during and after your meal. Ideally, you want to eat when your hunger is at a 3-4 (mild hunger) and stop when you are at a 7-8 (comfortable).
  • If you skip meals or wait too long to eat, you tend to eat faster and overeat. You may also find it harder to make better food choices when you let yourself get too hungry.
  • As your meal progresses, be aware of your fullness cues and stop eating when you feel satisfied (no longer hungry) — even if there is still food on your plate. Do something to finalize eating, such as pushing away your plate, covering it with a napkin, clearing the table, wrapping up leftovers, bruching your teeth or chewing some gum.
  • Notice how you feel when you are finished eating. If you overate, note how uncomfortable you feel (physically and emotionally) when you are overly full. Decide what you will do to lessen the chance that you will overeat next time.
  • Be aware of why you are eating. Are you truly hungry or are you eating for emotional reasons, such as stress, boredome or comfort? If you find you want to eat because of emotional hunger rather than physical hunger, it is important to have a plan to help manage these emotions that does not involve food. Make a list of activities you enjoy (such as reading a book, going for a walk, calling a friend, or writing in a journal) and refer to this list when needed.

5 Bean Salad Recipe

  • 1 (15 oz) can butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 oz) can wax beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (16 oz) can green beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small onion, sliced into rings
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 clove garlic

In large bowl combine all ingredients. Allow to marinate at least 4 hours before serving. Makes 20 (1/2 cup) servings.

Per serving: 85 calories, 3g fat, 300mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 4g protein

Healthy Eating Resources

Harvard School of Public Health

USDA Choose My Plate

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Produce for Better Health Foundation