We are officially halfway through the month of October - and despite the fact that Halloween is still over 2 weeks away, somehow, there is candy EVERYWHERE. Small pieces in a dish at the office (how are there already 6 Milky Way wrappers on my desk?) or those big bags at our favorite store (you know, the ones we buy with the best intentions, yet half the bag is gone before the first trick-or-treater gets to our door). Snacks are all around us. If ever there was a time for mindful eating, it is October, the start to the fall and holiday seasons filled with food.
Before you mindlessly eat your way through half a bag of chocolate, we would love to share our favorite mindful eating practice with you. (If it's too late, don't worry- no judgment here!) This practice can be done with any candy or snack you choose. You can even use these tips when enjoying a meal or drinking your favorite beverage. With a little bit of practice, you may even find that mindful eating is more enjoyable and becomes a habit by the time Halloween rolls around.
This practice can be done anytime, anywhere - and you can tailor it to how much time you have to eat, whether it be a few minutes at your desk or a full meal at lunch or at home:
First, figure out which snack you would like to eat mindfully. Before you even begin pick up your food or treat, consider all the people and places that worked together in order to get this food to you. Farmers. Manufacturers. Store employees. You may be surprised to find how many different people and places impacted that snack you're about to enjoy once you mindfully consider this.
Next, pick up that piece of candy or that food. It is heavy or light? What shape is it? What color is it? What kind of texture does it have? Rough? Smooth? Does it have a wrapper? Does it make a noise?
Is your mouth watering yet? If your food has a wrapper, remove it, noticing any sounds it might make as you do so. Does your food look different out of the wrapper? How so? How does your candy or food feel if you touch it? Notice any feelings or emotions that are beginning to arise.
Almost done! Before you take a bite, notice how your food smells. What ingredients can you smell when you mindfully pay attention? Is your mouth watering now?
Take a small bite, noticing the flavors and textures. Chew slowly, and notice if flavors or textures change. What emotions are you noticing? What emotions or feelings do you experience as you slowly eat the rest of your treat? How do you feel when that treat is finished?
Mindful eating is as simple as that. Taking just a few extra moments to thoughtfully participate in the eating experience. Regardless of which food item you choose, this practice is a sure way of breaking through those autopilot eating habits and fully enjoying what you are eating, with full attention in the present moment and without judgment - emphasis on the "without judgment" part during Halloween season! :)
You might just notice that candy tastes a little better when we slow down, too - especially if we decide to have that second, third, or sixth piece! Enjoy.