Incorporating Mindful Eating within Hospitality
Mindful eating is more than just a fad – it’s a great way to gain control over our eating habits, promote weight loss, reduce binge eating, help with feeling better inside, and simply be more aware of what we are putting into our bodies.
As the name suggests, it’s the practice of being mindful of what we eat.
A traditionally Buddhist principle, mindfulness can be combined with eating to promote a meditative state.
Simply put, mindful eating is about using mindfulness to reach a state of full awareness of our experiences, cravings, and physical cues when eating.
Fundamentally it involves the following practices which allow us to replace automatic thoughts and reactions with more conscious responses:
- Eating slowly and without distraction
- Being more aware of hunger cues
- Distinguishing between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating
- Engaging the senses while eating, through color, taste, smell, texture etc.
- Eating to maintain good health
- Appreciating food and ingredients
- Understanding feelings associated with food
Incorporating Mindful Eating into Hospitality
By imparting changes to the food and dining experiences at a hotel or resort, owners and operators can easily incorporate and promote mindful eating practices for their guests.
Mindful eating not only benefits the guests’ health and aligns them with an experience that reinforces the brand’s ethos, but it also helps to lessen food waste and create better cost efficiencies for the F&B department.
Here’s how we’d do it:
Avoid Processed Food
Ditch the powdered scrambled eggs and cook up fresh, organic, free-range eggs every morning and then tell guests that’s what you’re doing.
For buffet-style restaurants, list ingredients or provide health benefits for key ingredients such as turmeric, marjoram, lean tuna, etc. Additionally, draw special attention to so-called “Superfoods”.
Reducing processed food allows guests to be safe in the knowledge that what they are eating is good for them – a key part of mindful eating.
Substitute Sugar for Fruits
From stevia granules on the coffee table to fruit-based desserts that are both healthy and indulgent, substituting processed white sugar with natural alternatives and unhealthy desserts and snacks with seasonal fruit is a great way to encourage mindful eating.
Often people are tempted by unhealthier options simply because the healthy ones are unattractive or unappetizing.
Elevating the profile and the desirability of fruits by creating an experiential, eating journey that explores tastes, textures, minerals, vitamins and presentation.
This applies to savoury dishes as well through incremental integration of whole foods, vegetables, grains and nuts to the menus as an alternative to poor-quality and unhealthy ingredients.
Something that makes great sense is the Wellness minibar!
More often than not people may enjoy a snack in their room because they’re relaxing or simply too busy to head out for a proper meal, this is particularly true if travelling alone or for business.
Usually, convenience is not necessarily associated with healthy or balanced choices. And instead fast, available snack foods are loaded with sugar, bad fats and additives, that not only leave guests feeling sluggish and unhealthy but also decrease their use of other hotel dining options.
To create an attractive, yet healthier minibar option for guests; try the following –
- Substitute sodas with low sugar bottled teas and vitamin-infused waters.
- Replace chips with fresh unsalted nuts and seeds
- Offer interesting and flavourful fruit-based snack bars instead of chocolate.
In addition, challenge the kitchen team to come up with a signature healthy snack bar that is freshly prepared and supports the wellness intentions of the hotel or resort.
Make It an Offering!
Challenge your team to conceptualize a mindful eating and nutrition program that can be incorporated into every aspect of the Food and Beverage offering, including interesting MICE options, healthy takes on comfort food classics and even, less sinful desserts and bar snacks.
Share with guests the commitment to be more mindful, and encourage them to make healthy and eco-friendly choices of their own throughout their stay with mindful eating and lifestyle choices made easy.