At this point, mindful eating is hardly a new concept—nutritionists and scientists alike have been drawing connections between meditation and weight loss for several years now. As a quick refresher, the idea is that by taking the moment to listen to your mind and body both before and while you eat—making every bite and meal choice as deliberate as possible—you're better aware of your hunger cues and what your body actually needs. It's a strategy that is especially useful in this age of constant distraction when it's very common to eat in front of a computer or TV screen. (You're probably not paying that much attention to every bite if you're enraptured by Stranger Things, making it much easier to overdo it.)
But while mindfulness is a very general approach to eating better, it turns out there are some pretty specific ways to put it into practice. Take this recent study from Brigham Young, for example, which suggests that simply listening to yourself chew can help you moderate how much you eat.
Researchers had a group of participants snack on specifically crunchy foods: pretzels, chips, and the like. But here's the kicker: When researchers had part of the group put on headphones with very loud music, those subjects ate almost twice as much as those who were only listening to themselves chewing. "When you mask the sound of consumption, like when you watch TV while eating, you take away one of those senses and it may cause you to eat more than you would normally," said Ryan Elder, one of the directors of the study.
The takeaway: Not only does this further highlight the importance of tuning into your meals sans distraction, but it also suggests that noshing on crunchy foods could aid with eating less. Of course, you'll get the most benefits if you choose noisy foods with an extra nutritional punch—might we suggest some raw veggies, which also have the bonus of containing lots of water and fiber? And for salty cravings, we love SeaSnax ($9)—the roasted dry seaweed sheets are super savory and low in calories, aka the perfect antidote when we're hankering for some potato chips.