Shayna Schmidt | June 12, 2018

Mindful eating

Eating mindfully is a simple concept; it refers to putting some thought into the food you eat before consuming it. We chatted with Katie Millington, the wellness maven behind the BusyFitCity blog, and learned a bit about what she had to say on the topic. BusyFitCity is a personal blog set in New York City discussing the topics of fitness, food, travel, mindfulness and business within a wellness context.

Katie recommends considering these simple tips before sitting down for your next meal to help you be more conscious over the decisions you make as they relate to food.

  1. Examine the freshness and origin of the food before consuming it: How fresh is the food you’re about to consume? Do you know where it came from? (I’m not suggesting you ask your waiter or butcher what types of activities the chicken did and if it had friends before you buy it like in an episode of Portlandia, but knowing if it was grass fed, organic and came from a farm upstate are definitely a plus!) When buying fish, opt for wild caught and for meats, fruits and veggies I opt for organic. You can get away with conventional with fruits and veggies where you aren’t consuming the skin, like bananas and avocados. Many companies like Sweetgreen actually show you where they source their ingredients from, which I anticipate will happen more and more. I always avoid food that is mass produced; and this includes eating at any large chain restaurants.
  2. Read your labels: Do you really need an extra five grams of sugar in your marinara sauce? Be wary of extra additives like sugar and salt (and read more about sugar & sugar-free options here). Why packaged foods companies still add these is beyond me, but thankfully there are lots of great companies that maintain simple ingredients and create a great product.
  3. Don’t deprive yourself. Are there foods you absolutely love but don’t let yourself have because they are not necessarily “healthy”? I definitely learned this the hard way after Whole 30. Not allowing myself to consume pizza or mac and cheese (my two favorites) again is just not realistic for me. When I do eat these foods, I try to opt for fresh, organic ingredients. Instead, watch your portions and allow yourself to enjoy your faves once in a while. I read that Kayla Itsines eats pasta once a week, so her abs alone were enough of a reason for me to add it back into my diet. ;)
  4. Eat slowly. In American culture, it is ingrained from us from an early age that food is easily consumed on-the-go. It doesn’t help that there is an entire category devoted to “quick serve restaurants”. Our eating habits are flawed from the start. After traveling to France in college and living with two French families, I learned that it its not polite to eat on the street or via transit. Even to-go coffees are just gaining popularity, but adoption is slow. As with many countries throughout the world, the act of eating should be treasured, not rushed. This is one thing I took with me back to the US and still practice to this day. (With one exception, my to-go cold brew!)
  5. Chew your food. I realize this sounds really simple, but chewing your food completely before swallowing will aid in digestion and prevent gut issues down the road. This can easily be achieved by eating slowly.
  6. Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you are just making a lifestyle change to eat healthier overall, plan out your meals. Even if you plan to eat out for lunch, have some idea going into the week what you’ll order that aligns with your goals. Before the Whole 30 I generally ate pretty healthy, but the plan taught me to be much more vigilant about planning out my meals and knowing exactly which ingredients I was to consume. An easy tip for weekly meal-prep is to roast a ton of veggies on Sunday. (I like cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butternut squash and sweet potatoes) This way, you always have a nutritious side ready to go with whichever meat or grains you decide to prepare during the week. 
  7. Preparation also relates to being prepared while traveling. I always pack emergency bars with me to quell my hunger if there aren’t many healthy options available. Later this month, I’ll also be sharing my tips on how to eat healthy while traveling and out at restaurants.
  8. Eat whole, fresh foods whenever possible. This includes organic meats, fish, nuts and seeds, and fruits and veggies.

That's all, folks! You can check out Katie and follow her on social media here, @busyfitcity