dining out with friends

Stay Mindful While Dining Out

The world is going more digital by the minute, and as a consequence, we have become used to getting answers and results in the snap of a finger. The many improvements we have experienced have made our lives more convenient and that in itself is good. Unfortunately, this has also made us more impatient, getting stressed and disappointed when things don’t go at the pace we want them to.

You know what they say, though. Slow and steady wins the race. This saying applies to a great many aspects of our lives, but it is also applicable to how we eat.

We spend much of our leisure time eating. To truly enjoy the moment and appreciate it, it is important to learn the practice of eating mindfully, even when dining out.

Preparing to Dine Out

Before dining out, you must be in the right mindset and be well equipped to visit the restaurant or restaurants you have in mind. Here are some things you should prepare.

1. Plan your route

Before you leave your home, it helps to scroll through the menu of the restaurant you are planning to visit. If you are unsure, it helps to look at various restaurant menus first to narrow down your possible orders.

After choosing a restaurant, plan the route you will take, too. In fact, even before planning your route, make sure that the other things you need prepared are in order, such as your transportation and the modes of payment you will use.

If you are taking a car, see that it is in good condition to avoid any issues on the road. A heavy-duty car alignment lift is great to have for your regular maintenance checks and repairs, which will then give you more leisure time to enjoy.

2. Bring your own containers for takeout

Another thing you need for eating out mindfully is having your own container for take-home needs. Sure, you can always ask for takeout containers at the restaurant itself, but it is much friendlier to the environment to have your own. It also puts a lot less pressure on you to finish all the food that is served to you.

3. Make sure you are not too hungry

Going into a restaurant with an appetite is a must, of course. It helps you enjoy your food! However, don’t come in on a very empty stomach, or you will get tempted to speed through your meal, which will end up with you feeling bloated.

Think of it this way: you are not going to the restaurant just to feel full. You are there to enjoy the meal and have a good time!

How to Eat Mindfully in a Restaurant

When you are finally at the restaurant and your food is served, don’t start eating immediately. Slow and steady, remember?

1. Take a moment to appreciate your food

Before you dig in, verbalize your gratitude for the food first! It may feel a little awkward at first, but take a bit of time to just reflect on the efforts made by the people who made your food, the ingredients used in making it, and how much you are looking forward to eating.

2. Pay attention to your senses

Your taste buds are not the only ones involved when you are eating. As a mindful eater, all your senses are actually involved as you eat. Pay attention to each one!

Take note of how the food looks before you eat it, and then what kind of smells are the most noticeable. When you start eating, does the food make sounds? Is it crunchy or soft? Then finally, what flavor do you first taste, and what others follow?

This gives you an opportunity to really just slow down and simply be present at the moment. Without worrying about what you will be doing after the meal or the rest of the day, mindful eating simply lets you be aware of the moment and embrace it.

3. Enjoy the company of others

Finally, if you are able to safely have a meal with people you love, don’t pass up the chance! Being around other people who enjoy the act of eating just as much as you do can enrich the whole experience. It can even let you notice things about your food that you would not have paid attention to otherwise!

Have conversations and laugh with them, too. Meals taste much better when enjoyed in the presence of loved ones and over meaningful conversations.

The next time you plan on dining out, call up a few friends and catch up. And of course, take your time.

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