Demonstrate Mindfulness to Shoppers

March 10, 2011

Many of us multitask all day long, especially at meal times. Find out how mindful eating can benefit your health, and how to get shoppers to mindfully approach meals.

Hey there! Slow down! You’re eating way to fast! Sound familiar? Or have you never heard anyone tell you that because you are always so into browsing the web, catching up on emails, or your favorite TV series while scarfing down your meals? Multitasking is the norm, especially at meal times – and according to researchers at Harvard, a small yet growing body of research suggests that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and may even steer people away from processed food and other less healthful choices and towards whole fresh fruits and vegetables.
Dubbed “mindful eating,” paying attention to our meals even if we haven’t fully prepared them ourselves could be exactly what we need to battle the bulge. Based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment, these techniques have been proposed as a way to relieve stress and alleviate problems like high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal difficulties.
So encourage shoppers to notice the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of their food; chew slowly; and turn of the TV, put away the book and certainly step away from the computer screen. Learn to appreciate meals. The result? Feeling fuller faster, putting overeating habits to rest.
The brain has a direct connection to the gut; digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system. Researchers also believe that eating while distracted (by activities like driving or typing) may slow or even stop digestion - similar to the bodies fight or flight response. Poor digestion reduces the bodies’ ability to extract nutrients from our food leading to malnutrition.
How to get shoppers to mindfully approach meals? Start slow and encourage eating one meal a week with no distractions. Harvard researchers suggest setting the kitchen timer to 20 minutes, taking that time to eat a normal-sized meal. Demonstrate mindful eating through in store samplings. Forget the grab and go sampling, but think of sampling more like a tasting - a wine tasting - where shoppers are encouraged to think about all of the different complex flavors, the texture, color, and smell of the food; creating romance and excitement and a greater appreciation for our food, mindfully.