How often do you eat a meal or snack without even thinking about it?

After a long day, most of us just want to sit down, watch TV, and relax.  Then, before you know it, a whole bag of chips is gone!

Mindless eating can lead to poor food choices and unwanted weight gain. But there's good news!  Mindful eating can improve overall health, and promote weight control by giving you the opportunity to make better, healthier food choices and suppress overeating.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, being a little more mindful can make a big difference.  Here are 5 steps you can take to eat more mindfully:

Eat slower.
Eating slower can help with portion control and prevent overeating, because it more easily allows your body to realize when it is full. To make your meals last longer, try putting your fork down between bites, sipping on water, or taking a breath while you eat.

Sit down for a meal.
This deliberate step will bring awareness to what, and how much you are actually putting into your mouth. I know life is busy, and sitting down for all three meals might be unrealistic so at least pick one meal each day to sit down and focus solely on what you are eating.

Pay attention to your body.
Our bodies are constantly tell us things, we just need to listen. Take note of hunger signals throughout the day and address them so that you're not waiting until you are starving to eat something. You're guaranteed to binge then. Also, when eating, pay attention to the gradual feeling of fullness. You don't have to finish what is on your plate!

Unplug.
We are glued to our phones, computers, and tablets. By putting devices away while eating, we remove distractions, which helps us focus on enjoying the meal.

Savor the flavor.
We eat not only to fill our stomachs, but because food tastes good! Savor each bite of your meal. Pay attention to all the tastes, textures, and smells of your food to help you truly enjoy your meal.

Annie Courto is a full-time Registered Dietitian with  OnPoint Nutrition, providing weight loss and nutrition counseling.

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