Mindful Eating

Image: Brookstone

You’ve heard of smartphones and even smartwatches, but how about a smart… fork? Designed to help you become more aware of your eating habits, HAPIfork keeps track of a variety of information when it comes to mealtime, including number of  “fork servings,” time it takes you to eat your meal and built-in timer. You can then upload your data to HAPI.com for analysis, coaching and tracking progress. The forks are Bluetooth compatible, and the accompanying mobile app is available for Android, iOS or Windows mobile. Price: $99.99. Reposted via 13 Gift Ideas for the Woman in Your Life.

& This advice from MeQuilibrium.

Eat mindfully.

When you aren’t aware of what you’re eating, you tend to eat a lot more—and enjoy it a lot less. Try slowing down and tuning in at mealtime, and you’ll not only reduce the negative effects of stress, but ease digestion, heighten your senses, and even eat less.

What to do: Put everything you want to eat on your plate, rather than skimp and go back for seconds. Turn off the TV; put away the phone. Take a few deep breaths before diving in. Tune in to the appearance, textures, and flavors of your food.

If you’re eating with friends or family, pace yourself with the slowest eater at the table to slow yourself down.

Get more good fats.

Don’t be afraid of fats! Contrary to what you may think, fats don’t make you fat, but are necessary for healthy brain function and heart health, sustained energy, and the absorption of important fat-soluble vitamins and minerals. Include more healthy fats in your diet.

What to do: Snack on healthy plant-based fats like those found in nuts, nut butters, and avocados. Use healthy oils in your cooking: olive, canola, and sunflower oil. Eat fatty fish like salmon, sardines, and anchovies. Take an omega 3 supplement.

Detox your drinks.

Skip the bottled, sugary, caffeinated beverages and drink only water today. Hydrating often can keep you alert and your skin looking great, and even help with calorie control.

What to do: Invest in a good glass pitcher or bottle to keep on your desk all day. Add cucumber, mint, and lemon or lime for flavor. Drink sparkling water with a splash of pomegranate or grapefruit juice (consider a Sodastream machine which turns tap water into bubbly water.)

Take a culinary adventure.

In a food rut? Stop by your local farmer’s market. Fresh, locally grown produce is not only great for your health, but can add a little zing to your same old, same old.

What to do: Let your senses guide you. What looks inviting and healthy and delicious? Buy what appeals to you and you can find a recipe later. Buy something (fairy eggplants, or a different Asian green) that you’ve never seen or tried before.

Talk to the farmers and growers. These people know their produce inside and out. Ask some questions about how to use or prepare foods and you’ll leave with new insight and a recipe or two. Take home your new foods and enjoy (sooner the better). You’ll feel great that you bought something that supports local growers and your health at the same time.

Get more magnesium.

Magnesium is a mineral that’s abundant in our bodies; it plays a vital role in our stress response system. Consuming the right amount of magnesium can help restore optimum levels and calm and energize you.

What to do: Talk to your doctor about having your levels checked; he or she may recommend a supplement. Up your intake with these natural magnesium-rich sources:

  • beans
  • dark leafy greens
  • grains like barley
  • millet
  • buckwheat
  • nuts
  • shrimp
  • oyster
  • halibut

Bring your lunch.

When you don’t plan for lunch, you may forget to eat it altogether—and end up eating something less than healthy out of desperation. Pack a healthy meal and you’re sure to sustain your energy throughout the day.

What to do: Pack your lunch the night before. Put a portion of your dinner aside for tomorrow to take with you the next day.

Throw it over some greens. If you had cooked salmon for dinner, save a portion in the fridge. The next morning, put it over some salad greens and you have a fancy chilled salmon salad that would normally cost you $15.

Try a sushi sandwich. For a low-calorie, nutrient-dense option, roll a few slices of turkey with some avocado and mustard in a nori seaweed wrap and you’ve got a lean, low-carb sandwich.

Clean out your cupboard.

Eating healthier starts with what’s in your cupboard. So, clean it out and replace it with healthier alternatives and you’ll have what you need on hand to eat well, every day.

What to do: Toss: Old oils (especially the ones that smell rancid—and trust us, you’ll know). Replace with: heart healthy olive or canola oil (look for cold- and expeller-pressed).

Toss: Old herbs and spices. Do you even remember when you bought them? Spices have a long shelf life, but if you can’t smell them, they won’t do you much good. Replace with: Fresher versions of spices you know you’ll use: cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, and any others your favorite recipes call for. Skip the economy size and opt for smaller you can use up.

Toss: Packaged goods that contain: transfats, loads of preservatives, artificial sweeteners, dyes, and anything else that is nutritionally void and just taking up space. Replace with: Shelf-stable options that have a shorter ingredient list, lower sodium, and contain foods—not chemicals whose names you can’t pronounce.

Eat fish twice this week.

Fish is a healthy, lean protein and a powerful addition to your diet, as it’s lower in calories and saturated fats than other meats.

What to do: Opt for fatty, cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel to get a potent dose of heart-healthy omega 3s. Try anchovies in your pasta or sardines over brown rice for lunch or dinner, or toss some shrimp into a stir fry.

Widen your net. Eating a wide variety of fish can help reduce exposure to environmental contaminants, as can eating smaller fish (think anchovies versus swordfish, which has a higher concentration of mercury). Try some you haven’t before, like herring or smoked trout or kippers, which are available at most supermarkets.

Have a smoothie for breakfast.

Skip the bagel and coffee, and front-load your day with healthy fruits and veggies instead for energy-boosting nutrients with lower calorie counts while avoiding the sugar crash.

What to do: Smoothie recipes abound online, or you can experiment with a few of your favorite ingredients. All you need is a good blender. Try:

  • Frozen berries, bananas, an apple, and some spinach (you won’t even taste it).
  • Throw in some flaxseed meal for healthy omega 3s and fiber.
  • Add some soy or almond milk for texture.
  • Blend until smooth, and take along with you!

Swap your snacks for real food.

We’ve been taught that snacks are their own food group and usually come prepackaged—but in fact, food is food, and when you’re hungry, you should eat it.

Skip the snack packs and instead upgrade your between-meal bites to include actual fruits, veggies, grains, fats, and proteins. You’ll sustain your energy and avoid the sugar crash.

What to do: Cut up veggies and hummus or tahini sauce. Choose a sliced apple with some almond or peanut butter. Have a small cup of greek yogurt with a few nuts. Enjoy a cup of soup with some cheese and crackers.