How to practice mindful eating

September 14, 2023—“Mindful eating”—the practice of taking time to consciously experience, enjoy, and express gratitude for a meal—offers myriad health benefits, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Lilian Cheung.

Cheung, lecturer on nutrition and Director of Mindfulness Research and Practice in the Department of Nutrition, was featured on the September 11 episode of NPR’s Life Kit podcast. Cheung offered five tips for listeners to eat mindfully:

  1. Take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal
  2. Put your phone and other technology away while eating
  3. Engage your senses while eating—notice things like smells and textures
  4. Portion out snacks to help prevent mindless munching
  5. Make sure you’re chewing well—for the sake of both mindfulness and digestion

Mindful eating “encourages us to make choices that are satisfying and nourishing to the body,” Cheung said. “And as we become more aware of our eating habits, we can take steps toward behavior that will benefit not only ourselves, but also our environment.”

Listen to the Life Kit episode: Scarfing down your food? Here’s how to slow down and eat more mindfully