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{Note from Jessica: Today’s post is shared by my good friend, Lauren, author of Lauren Fowler. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and yoga teacher who promotes a non-diet approach to nutrition and health. She wants everyone to connect to their bodies intuitive wisdom rather than following diets. She encourages the tools of intuitive eating and health at every size. Stop by LaurenFlower.co to read more about nutrition, intuitive eating, heart-based health, and yoga.}

About 7 years ago, I read the book Mindless Eating and devoured it. It was different than anything I had been learning in school because it looked at the psychology of eating rather than solely nutrients and food.

The book explores how we all engage in different forms of mindless eating to help us become more aware of our behaviors and patterns around food in order to move towards a more mindful way of approaching food. Mindful eating became a new word to me at that point, and you may have heard this term before.

Yet, it wasn’t until an actual mindful eating exercise a few years after that I really understood what mindful eating is and how it can help transform the way you view food.

I did a mindful eating exercise with chocolate led by a fellow dietitian, and we took about 10 minutes to eat a small piece of chocolate. In those few moments, my senses took in this piece of food, as I was focused completely on smelling, tasting, and absorbing this food.

I experienced the sensation of chocolate melting in my mouth, how the taste changes over a few moments, and the joy that comes with enjoying food. There was so much more pleasure in one piece of chocolate when savoring it rather than scarfing down a few pieces while driving in my car.

Here’s a mindful eating exercise I’d encourage you to do with a favorite food of yours – I highly recommend chocolate, but it works with all foods that you can have a single piece of (one chip, one raisin, etc.).

Mindful Eating Exercise

If you notice any food judgments, associations, or emotions come up as you do the exercise, just notice them and return to the exercise. You may have certain associations come up with foods – like a feeling of guilt when eating chocolate or a memory of childhood when eating chips. Observe, then return to the present moment and the exercise.


Put the piece of food in your hand and look at it. Take a moment to imagine this is the very first time you’re seeing this food. Even if you’ve seen this food hundreds of times before, this is a new piece of food to you. Observe what it looks like – what color is it? Is it smooth or rough? Have ridges? Is it a certain shape or size? No need to judge it; just observe. Hold the food in between your fingers, and continue to notice the texture and if it changes.


At this point, close your eyes, and bring the food up to your nose to smell it. Does it have a smell? Observing it as you smell it makes your mouth water or make the food more appetizing.


With your eyes closed, put the food in your mouth. If it’s a bigger piece of food like a square of chocolate or a chip, break a piece off and notice the sound of the food. Place the food on your tongue and feel the first sensations from it. Note the texture of the food in your mouth and the first flavors you notice. Start to move the food around your mouth without chewing yet – if it’s chocolate, you may feel it melting – and notice how the taste or texture is changing.

Take a bite of the food, and continue to observe the texture and flavors at this point. When you’re ready, swallow the food.

After you’re done with the food, take a moment to journal your experience. Write down your thoughts, using these prompts:

  • What did you notice about the entire experience?
  • How did the experience feel?
  • What emotions or associations came up as you ate the food (if any)?
  • Did the mindful eating experience change how you viewed the food in any way?
  • How did engaging all your senses change your experience of eating?
  • How would your eating or relationship with food shift if you ate food this way more often?

While you don’t have to eat each meal this slowly, it can be very pleasurable and beneficial to eat one meal a day mindfully. By slowing down and focusing on eating rather than eating in the car or at your desk, you can savor your food and tune into your body’s cues for hunger, fullness, or what foods it enjoys or doesn’t like.

PS: If you want to explore mindful eating more, I have a 30-Day Mindful Eating Challenge with 30 days of exercises and journaling experiences to practice mindful eating and ditch the diets. 

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