How to Cook and Eat Mindfully
Cooking and eating is a practice in mindfulness that brings full attention to the experiences and feelings around mealtimes. It’s about slowing down, unplugging, recognizing food as nourishment, and being aware of where food comes from and how it impacts one’s health and well-being.
With the hustle and bustle of today’s society, it’s not uncommon to skip a meal, eat at your desk or on-the-go, get “snacky,” or speed through a meal so you can get on with your next task. Whether you’re a busy working woman, stay-at-home, multi-tasking mama or all of the above, it’s my guess that you’re familiar with the mile-long “to do” list that is impossible to complete. It’s no wonder we don’t make time for meals.
Have you ever finished a meal without really even tasting the food? Do you find yourself mindlessly snacking (likely not on veggies) during the pre-dinner hours? Or standing over the sink while eating your dinner? We’ve all been there, BUT it’s something we can all change! In this post, I’m sharing six tips that will help you cook and eat more mindfully and why it’s important to do so.
It’s my hope that this will inspire you to pause, slow down, nourish your body with wholesome foods, and create a sense of peace and satisfaction around mealtimes.
Tips for Cooking and Eating More Mindfully:
1. Listen to your body’s signals and cues.
Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Each day’s nutritional needs may vary depending on several factors such as your activity level, metabolism, and hormones. No need to fight hunger signals. If you’re hungry, it’s time to eat. In addition, recognize your current mood and cravings and do your best not to eat to comfort an emotion or feeling. Take a bath, go for a walk, meditate, or read a book instead.
2. Eat with purpose.
Before each meal, ask yourself “How is the food that I’m about to eat going to nourish and fuel my body?” Food is fuel. The right foods will give you the energy you need to live life to its fullest and help you to achieve the optimal health you desire. Eat with purpose, eat to nourish your body.
3. Free yourself from mealtime distractions.
If you’re distracted while you eat it will be a lot more difficult to recognize when you’re satisfied. A simple solution to this is to put away your phone, turn off the television or computer, close the book/magazine/newspaper – and sit down and eat.
4. Slow down and take note of the aromas, the flavors, the textures, the experience.
It takes time to communicate fullness between our stomach and the brain. Eating slowly will help you recognize fullness sooner. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, sit down, pause between bites, chew your food well and enjoy your meal for the entirety of the time.
5. Know where your food comes from.
Support local farmers and growers, shop at your local farmer’s market, eat with the seasons, grow your own food and know your farmer. Taking the time to ask the question “Where did my food come from?” or “How was it grown?” can help you become more mindful, appreciative and better connected with what’s on your plate. And before you mindfully dive into your meal, I encourage you to pause and give thanks to the environmental offerings (soil, sun, rain, plants etc.) and working hands that went into making your meal possible.
6. Use cooking as a time to de-stress, unplug and connect with family.
Make mealtimes an enjoyable part of your day by using it as a time to de-stress, unplug and catch up with family (or friends). Enjoy quality time in the kitchen with your family while you cook up your favorite healthy meals together. Create uplifting conversations, making sure that during your meal you pause and set down your fork while you’re talking.
It’s time to pause, give yourself a break from the hustle and bustle so that you can truly enjoy your meal and nourish your body with foods that make you feel your best. Apply these 6 tips to your everyday life and you’ll be on your way to cooking and eating more mindfully.
Much love and real food,
Click here to learn how I prepare for the week ahead by meal prepping + 3 meal-prep friendly recipes you’ll love!
Italian Turkey Burgers with Whipped Goat Cheese & Sweet Potato Bun
A delicious burger you can enjoy all year round. Served between sweet potato rounds, topped with a whipped goat cheese and your favorite toppings! For this recipe, start by getting the sweet potato rounds in the oven and while they’re baking, prepare the Italian Turkey Burgers and Whipped Goat Cheese. For a dairy-free option, omit the goat cheese.
Makes 5 servings
For the Italian Turkey Burgers:
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1/3 cup red onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cup spinach, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 3 tsp. coconut oil or avocado oil, divided
For the Sweet Potato Bun:
- 1 medium sweet potato, washed
- 2 tsp. coconut oil, melted or avocado oil
For the Whipped Goat Cheese (optional):
- 4 oz. soft goat cheese, softened
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp. fresh herbs of choice (optional)
For the Italian Turkey Burgers:
1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tsp. coconut oil. When oil is hot, add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and spinach and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
2. Place turkey in a medium bowl. Add saute veggies, seasoning, salt and pepper. Using a large spoon or your hands, mix to combine.
3. Divide turkey mixture into 5 portions and form into 5 patties.
4. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Melt 2 tsp. coconut oil and cook patties 5-7 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
For the Sweet Potato Bun:
1. Preheat to 375?.
2. With a sharp knife slice sweet potatoes into round, about ¼ inch thick.
3. Place rounds on baking sheet and toss with coconut oil or avocado oil. Space out the rounds on the pan before transferring to the oven.
4. Bake for 14-16 minutes flipping rounds halfway through the baking time.
5. Remove from oven and sprinkle with sea salt.
For the Whipped Goat Cheese:
1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and whip together. Serve on top of burger.
Note: May also bake in a 375? oven for 20-25 min or until internal temp reaches at least 165? or you can grill em’ up!
Prep Ahead Tip: Prepare up to 3 days in advance for an easy Reheat & Eat meal or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.
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