Eating Mindfully for the Summer

The friends, the family, the sun the FUN! Ah…who doesn’t just LOVE everything about summer – especially the food? With so much going on, it can be tough to step back from the festivities for long enough to realize you’ve already gone a bit too far down the rabbit hole of drinks and goodies.

All there is to do is remain present.

Ok, blog post over! That’s it, we can all go home now.

Yeah right. It’s going to take a lot more than that to pull me back to earth when I am spiraling.

The trick is to be able to recognize your thoughts, feelings and emotions when you encounter situations that throw you off “balance.” From there, you can begin to recognize your triggers. Does the platter of chips and dip make your palms sweaty and your heart beat faster? Here are five simple ways you can practice mindfulness this summer (and, forever):

1. Dedicate time to meditation.

Meditation is a fantastic way to recognize when your thoughts are scurrying away from you. Even just ten minutes a day of meditation has been shown to improve brain patterns over time by stimulating new neural pathways which can lead to being calmer, more focused and happier. If you’re just getting started on your meditation journey, check out MNDFL, or the Headspace app.

2. Buddy up.

Chances are high that you have a buddy who is dealing with similar feelings about food this summer. Set up a system of accountability with a friend, or start a chat or Whatsapp group with a few friends who could use a shoulder to lean on when it comes to choosing well this summer. Getting in communication with a friend about where you need support releases the burden you may feel from going at this alone.

3. Know your swaps!

You’d be surprised at just how many swaps you can make! Choose seltzer with lime over soda. Forgo the bun with your burger and bring a sweet potato wrapped in foil to throw on the grill. There are many swaps you can make and ways you can modify what’s available to you so that you don’t have to fight “urges”! If you’re struggling to really know your swaps and don’t feel satisfied with the current swaps you’re making, consider making a consultation with a NAO Nutritionist, who can guide you down the right path.

4. Stay hydrated.

Don’t mistake hunger for thirst and consume plenty of water this summer. For an extra fun twist, slice up some cucumber and lemon and put it in a pitcher of ice water that you can keep in your refrigerator at all times.

5. Speak your mantra.

What inspires you about who you are? Find a word, a phrase…a motivational word to keep with you at all times that will remind you to remain present. Not being mindful is a result of our mind getting swept away in thoughts and emotions. Speaking a mantra is a great practice for remaining present and grounded in reality.

OH and I forgot the most important one….SMILE! Even if you don’t want to (it changes your brain)!

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