Many woman who come to our healthy weight management program mention the challenges they have with dining in restaurants. Let’s face it, a full menu to select from, large portions, food exposure, and socializing while dining can make meals in restaurants a bit challenging. Bringing the practice of mindful eating with you to a restaurant can make a huge difference in how you feel at the end of the meal.
Here are a few tips on how the 3 principles of mindful eating can be applied in a restaurant:
1. Wait for Hunger – this is usually not an issue when dining out, but perhaps I should re-word this to “Wait for an Appropriate Level of Hunger.” Sure, you want to be ready to eat and hungry, but starved is NOT what we are going for.
2. Eat What You Want – One suggestion from Barbara Meyer, PhD, Green Mountain at Fox Run’s Program Director, is to check in with yourself before opening the menu. Consider the type of food you are truly in the mood for, thinking about flavor, texture, and temperature; THEN open the menu and do your best to find a food that lines up with what you are craving.
3. Get Focused – This might be the most helpful principle when dealing with large portions. Eat in a slow and relaxed manner, making sure to check in and take note of whether or not you are enjoying what you ordered. Focus on the qualities of the food and pay attention to your physical response to what, or how much, you are eating.
How has mindful eating helped you make more supportive choices when dining out?