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  • roxanne802

Mindfulness practices to support healthy eating while home

The idea of healthy eating may feel overwhelming right now and for so many good reasons. Not being able to get to the grocery store and even when you do, being unable to find many of your go to ingredients. Perhaps a sense of overwhelm leads to some emotional eating which leads you to your refrigerator more often than you'd like. Maybe having to feed yourself and your family numerous times a day simply feels a little too much like being a short order cook and the idea of having to make complicated meals just isn’t appealing. I totally get that and am in the same boat. Right now I am looking for simple yet nutrient dense and of course delicious meals and snacks.

I believe that with the right intention and a few tools in your belt, you can eat well and practice radical acts of self-care at the same time. This is when we need it the most.

First and foremost:

1. Ground Yourself! Taking a few moments each day to find a sense of calm is the best way to tune in and really notice what your body needs. This is especially helpful before you eat.

Eating in a relaxed state is one of the best ways to support your digestion (and assimilation of nutrients - meaning you get the most out of your meals)! When you bring awareness to the food on your plate and how you feel afterwards, you can then make the best food choices for you. In addition, eating in a calm, relaxed manner will take you from the fight or flight mode into the parasympathetic nervous system which can also support and strengthen your digestion (as well as your immune system - bonus)!

Grounding practices before you eat and even while you cook!

- Repeat a mantra such as I got this!, It feels good to care for myself, I am supporting my immune system, I am well or I am nourished.

- Practice a breathing technique like the one minute breath where you breathe in for a count of 5 - hold for 5 - exhale out for 5. Repeat this 4 times to equal one minute. I like to think of this as the instant and natural xanax. This will help you center yourself and find a sense of ease in your body and mind.

- Practice gratitude - I am grateful for this food or say a prayer

2. Slow down! For optimal digestion, we must slow down and chew our food! Remember, our stomachs do not have teeth! Chewing helps to break down the food, improve digestion and absorption. Stress affects digestion so one of the best things you can do right now and before you eat is to slow down while you are eating and afterwards. Pay attention to how you feel after a meal. Sluggish? Energized? Bloated? This will teach you things about how different foods affect you.

3. Meal prep (well, kind of!) – using what you have on hand in terms of pantry and freezer ingredients, keep a stock of canned, frozen and non-perishables handy.

Let’s face it, being home cooking all day may not be ideal. I know with a house full of hungry kiddos and husband, that I am in no mood to be in the kitchen all day. Plus I too work! However, I love cooking and do not believe that I have to sacrifice on nutritious and delicious meals, just because we don’t have as many fresh ingredients or our usual staples.

Some helpful tips for successful and simple cooking!

- Cook once eat twice – batch cook and plan for leftovers. You can always freeze items like stews, soups and rice dishes.

- Use what you have – get creative with what’s in your pantry. Canned beans makes the perfect topping to a tortilla or salad. Throw on some olives, salsa, shredded cheese and you’ve got yourself a healthy, warm and comforting meal.

- Frozen fruits and vegetables can actually have more nutrients because they are frozen at peak ripeness!

- On the other hand, make sure that you pay attention to sodium, sugar and additives. Eating more canned and frozen foods may mean added sodium so be on the look out for no or low sodium options.

Now is not the time to strive for perfection. Be flexible and forgiving with yourself!

Remember you are doing the best you can under these circumstances and that while it may feel isolating at times, you are not in this alone.

I hope these tips give you a little more comfort when we need it the most. I believe that small changes make big differences and by choosing one or two of these healthy habits to cultivate, you are setting yourself up for a successful day and meal in the comfort of your own home.

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