Mindful eating

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Do you ever find yourself eating for reasons other than hunger? You might eat when you are bored, tired, upset or under stress. Maybe you automatically reach for sweets after supper or snacks while in front of the TV, without ever asking yourself whether you are really hungry. These common eating pitfalls could be sabotaging your efforts at a healthy diet.

Try these strategies to get back on track:


Keep a food journal

Keeping track of what you eat can help you regain control. So grab a notebook and pen, open a file on your computer, or make a note in your phone, and record the following information:

• What foods you eat and how much.

• What time you eat.

• What else is going on when you are eating. For example, are you eating at morning break time even though you’re not hungry? Are you snacking on chips while watching the hockey game? Did you reach for a chocolate bar after a stressful day?

Over time, you will be able to identify times when you are eating for reasons other than hunger.


Make a plan

Now that you know the problem, you can brainstorm some solutions.

Here are some ideas:

• If you eat for emotional reasons, try doing something else that makes you happy. Try going for a walk, reading a book, listening to music or calling a friend.

• If you find yourself mindlessly snacking (i.e. eating in front of the TV or in the car), commit to eating only at a table where you can focus on your food without distraction.

• If you crave something sweet after meals, try fruit or yogurt for dessert.


Practise mindful eating

Mindful eating means eating with awareness. When you slow down and pay attention to your food, you will be more satisfied with a smaller portion. This can prevent overeating and lead to fewer cravings. Here’s how:

• Pay attention only to your food.

• Focus on seeing, chewing, tasting and swallowing your food.

• Eat slowly and put your fork down between bites.

The next time you reach for a snack or treat, ask yourself if you are really hungry. Remember, if hunger is not the problem then eating is not the solution.

Hungry for more? Like @SobeysDietitian on Facebook and Twitter for more tasty tips and recipes. To receive our schedule of events and Healthy Bits & Bites Newsletter directly to your inbox, register at www.sobeyspharmacy.com/newsletter.


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Try this recipe:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Serves 6
1 Avocado, peeled and pitted
⅔ cup 150 ml Cocoa powder
⅔ cup 150 ml Milk, 1%
⅔ cup 150 ml Sugar
2 tsp 10 ml Vanilla

1. Mix all ingredients in a food processor. Blend for 5 minutes until creamy.

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories 180
Fat 6 grams
Carbohydrate 33 grams
Fibre 5 grams
Protein 3 grams
Sodium 16 milligrams
Tip: Serve this as a dip with cut-up fruit.
Source: Sobeys Dietitians