Mealtime design

Presentation, mindfullness and mood influence eating.

How mindful eating can influence how much you eat!

Have you ever noticed how hungry you feel when you go to a fancy restaurant that serves a small piece of fish on a giant plate?

Or how when you go to an all you can eat buffet, you’ll pile on the food until it looks like the leaning tower of Pisa?

Sitting down vs eating on the go

As you’ll see below, to get the most out of your meal, you want to eat mindfully. This means sitting down, taking your time and immersing yourself in the experience of eating the food in front of you. For this reason,taking your time to enjoy a meal is definitely the preferred option as it gives your body time to digest, to produce the enzymes needed to break down the food and to relay to your brain that you can stop eating as you’re starting to fill up.

However, since most of us lead rather busy lives that hand us a few minutes to run down the road, grab something to inhale and then get back to work, it can be tricky to eat mindfully! When you’re in a rush, you don’t take the time to actually think about what you’re eating. Not only are you more likely to get something slightly less healthy but you don’t really chew your food or pay attention to how much you’ve eaten. This provides opportunity either to eat way too much, resulting in that horrible feeling of indigestion soon after, or to feel like you’ve barely eaten so you reach for snacks by early afternoon. To counter this problem, consider preparing your meals to take with you to work. That way, you know in advance how much is there so you expect to be full, you know it’s healthy and you save both time and money in the process!

Presentation matters!

We look at the plate to see how the colour contrasts with the food on it. To encourage yourself to plate less food, coloured plates(black or block colours) help provide contrast and reduce quantity. Similarly,we naturally fill up the empty space on a plate because to under utilise would surely mean we’d be hungry later. An easy solution for this is to invest in smaller sized plates!


The mood or environment

This can have just as much effect on how much we eat.Playing soft, relaxing music and dining by the dim glow of candlelight allows you to slow down, relax and enjoy your meal. By taking your time, your body can then relay to your brain that you’ve eaten enough and so you’re more  likely to eat less than if you simply gulped down a burger.


What you expect of the dining experience

In the same way that your aim for fast food is to get something in your stomach, if you went to a buffet, you’re already in a frame of mind that says you should eat as much as possible to get your money’s worth.In both of these situations, eating is just an autopilot task. In contrast, if you went to a fine dining restaurant, you’d expect much smaller portions and put effort into trying to explore each piece of food for the mastery that’s gone into its preparation.


Wishing you great health,

Dr Pete

PS. you are welcome to share this with friends and family

About Dr Pete!

Dr Peter Holsman is a qualified Medical Practitioner,Naturopath and Professional Speaker based in Melbourne. An expert in his field with over 30 years experience, he specialises in treating people with fatigue related illnesses including stress, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome,thyroid and adrenal hormone problems.