Mindful eating – stop, think, relax, eat
It’s a crazy busy time of year. Christmas shopping is in full swing and the social calendar is fully booked. There are now meagre seasonal pickings from the garden, and sub-zero temperatures mean a few kilos weight gain can be easily disguised under a stylish Winter knit. Discussing healthy fresh meal ideas is less of a priority and is replaced with debating the best mince pies, or the best choccie from the tub of Quality Streets.
Oh dear. How many calories in that strawberry cream? How many squats to work off that mince pie? How many marathons will I need to run to earn my Christmas dinner?
STOP. Think. Relax. Eat.
If you’re starting to feel out of control of your eating habits, or feeling negative towards food it might be time to focus on mindful eating. Mindful eating helps us learn to hear what our body is telling us about hunger and satisfaction. The more we are in tune with why we are eating, the more control we have over it. I like the HALT acronym for identifying if you are eating because your body needs some food, or if you are eating for emotion. Next time you find yourself reaching for the seasonal post dinner mince-pie or chocolates ask yourself am I:
If you find yourself eating for emotion don’t panic. It’s very common to get into the habit of emotional eating. Try to accept that this is the way you feel, and try some distraction techniques so that you put off that urge until you are truly hungry:
- Go for a short jog.
- Go for a drive.
- Have a bath.
- Surf the web.
- Talk to a friend.
- Work or play on your computer.
- Immerse yourself in a project or hobby.
- Listen to your favorite music.
- Work in the garden.
- If you have children, play some games with them.
- Clean the house.
It can be easy to over-eat at usual mealtimes when not being mindful. In particular it’s easy to super-size carbohydrate portions in your evening meals, especially when ‘double carb’ ing – think pasta with garlic bread. Are you actually eating this big meal for a reward after a hard week at work? Are you eating an entire pizza in a restaurant because you were brought up to always finish your plate? But it’s also easy to then remedy this problem by hitting the other extreme and eating too little carbohydrate. I find in my practise clients who limit carbohydrates in the evenings report frequent hunger, sugar cravings, low mood and disturbed sleep. This can all be linked back to limited carbohydrate intake affecting blood sugars and stress hormones.
Including a fist-sized portion of slow-release carbohydrate can help address hunger, mood, sugar cravings and sleep: think oats, rye bread, sweet potatoes and brown rice or pasta. Here’s a great recipe for embracing a low carb technique (spiralizing veg) but incorporating it into a healthy balanced nourishing meal with a sensible fist sized portion of slow release brown spaghetti. Help yourself to a modest portion first, enjoy and savour every mouthful. Eat mindfully and enjoy!
- 1 large courgette
- 150 wholemeal spaghetti
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- 2tsp olive oil
- 200g prawns
- salt and pepper
- one large handful of pine nuts
- 1/2 red chilli (optional)
- Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions
- meanwhile spiralize your courgettes (with a spiraliser or a vegetable peeler)
- Cook the garlic in the oil for 20 seconds
- add & toss the courgette noodles and prawns for 2-3 minutes
- add cooked spaghetti to the pan
- season with salt, pepper, chilli and cheese
- Serve with salad or steamed vegetables
Front of Pack Nutrition Labelling:
|Nutrient||per 100g||%RI||per 432g serving||%RI|