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Mindful Eating

Being "mindful" not only of what you eat—but of how and where you eat—is the first step toward healthy eating, according to the nutrition philosophy at Miraval Resort & Spa, located in the Sonoran desert of Arizona. Here a team of nutritionists encourages guests to "be their own best experts about what their bodies need."

But how do you "read" your body's needs? This is the challenge at the breakfast table one morning with Miraval registered dietitian Mackenzie Boyd. By practicing with the first meal of the day, she leads guests through the process of mindful eating.

To begin, because plates these days are bigger than ever, you need to pay attention to how much you are serving yourself, she counsels. Next, eat for the moment. "Eat for how hungry you are now, then stop. Don't eat twice as much now because of what you might be doing later," she says. Finally, find your "middle point" in eating—not too much, not too little. This will be easier to find, she says, if you eat slowly.

She begins the practice meal by inviting guests to serve themselves. Some choose yogurt and fruit, others cereal, some a full breakfast. Once served, she asks that everyone be quiet (and not eat) for ten minutes while contemplating their breakfasts, their surroundings, their days. The next step is to begin eating, placing the utensils down on the table between each bite. "Take in the colors, the textures, the scent and flavor of the food," said Mackenzie. "Feel the food in your mouth; savor it. Figure out what satisfies you. Then, after a while, ask yourself: 'Is this enough? Too much?'"

Once everyone seems to have reached a stopping (or pausing) point, she asks the guests to describe what they thought of the meals they had chosen.

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