Have you ever found yourself—for whatever reason—feeling anxious or stressed during mealtime? It’s not an uncommon experience in a world where one is constantly bombarded with distractions and demands for attention. But what if I told you that there are ways to bring more mindfulness and awareness to meals, where you might find greater enjoyment and peace in the process?

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are two practices that can help cultivate a greater sense of awareness and perspective in our daily lives. Meditation is all about observing our thoughts and feelings without judgment, while mindfulness is about being deliberately present in the moment and attuned to our body, mind, and feelings. Together, these practices can help us embrace the “now” and find greater calm and clarity amidst the chaos of our lives.


So, how can we bring these positive effects into our meals? For some quick (and free) ways to meditate, I highly recommend checking out YouTube! You can find some amazing short meditation videos there; a couple I particularly recommend are:

Headspace | Let Go of Stress

Calm | 1-Minute Meditation

These videos may be short, but they are powerful and can have a real impact on your day. I’ve found that listening to one of these videos before a meal can be especially helpful for those who tend to feel anxious during mealtimes. You know, that feeling of sweaty palms, butterflies in the stomach, or just constant racing thoughts. So go ahead and give it a try—see if one of these meditation videos can help soothe your jitters and bring a sense of calm to mealtime… as well as your whole day!


In addition to meditation, mindful eating is another practice that can help bring more awareness to our meals. A good start is to choose one meal where we can slow down and focus on our food, tuning in to our body’s physical hunger/fulness cues. First, it’s a good idea to reduce any distractions around that we can—such as turning off the TV or putting the phone away—so we may be better able to mindfully focus on the present moment and our meal. By paying attention to the colors, textures, tastes, and smells of our food, we can engage all of our senses and fully experience the pleasure of eating. We can take time to fully consider the entire experience of eating, including whatever emotions come up as we eat. Asking ourselves questions like, “What does this food look like?”, “What does it feel like in my mouth?”, and “How does it make me feel?” focuses our attention on being fully present.

The Takeaway

It is important to remember that the practices of meditation and/or mindfulness are not about doing these exercises perfectly, but about developing greater self-awareness and compassion. By trying out these techniques, we may just bring more peace and pleasure to our meals… and perhaps even to our lives as a whole!

Emma Gangbar (she/her) is an MS/ RDN Candidate in Nutrition Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Emma is passionate about all things nutrition, most specifically prenatal nutrition and nutrition for those struggling with eating disorders. Besides nutrition, Emma enjoys running outside with friends, spending quality time with her family, and exploring new areas of New York City.