Mindful cooking – how to practice it

Mindfulness has become something of a buzzword in the wellness sphere. We apply it to walking, meditation and movement practices like yoga, but can cooking really be mindful too?

Cooking doesn’t have to be something that we do on autopilot. In fact, it offers a wonderful opportunity to slow down, appreciate the little things and train the mind to be present. Here we explain five simple ways you can practice mindful cooking.

How to practice mindful cooking

Set your intention

Voicing our intention can transform the most mundane tasks into pockets of joy and meaning. As you wash your hands in preparation for cooking, set an intention for the meal ahead. Some examples might be:

  • At breakfast, setting an intention to fuel and nourish our bodies with everything we need for an energised day.
  • When cooking for others, setting an intention to show our love and appreciation for them in our food.
  • We might also choose to honour and remember people we’ve lost by making their favourite recipe, or using an ingredient that they loved.

Turn off and tune in

Switch off your smartphone and turn down the radio. Cooking offers an opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and tune into the smells, textures and colours that the present moment offers.

The crackle of brown onion skins peeling away to reveal bright, white flesh. The sound of your knife slicing and dicing the onion against the chopping board. The sizzle and smell as it hits a hot pan. Use all five senses to help you remain present and interested in the task at hand.

Time out

A watched pot never boils. Whether you’re waiting for toast to ping, an egg to boil or a sauce to reduce, set a timer and take the opportunity to turn inwards.

Sit down, close your eyes and turn your attention to your breath. Every time your mind begins to wander, gently bring it back to your breath. This technique is called noting: simply note that your mind has wandered and softly correct it without any judgement or telling yourself off for not doing it perfectly.

A moment of gratitude

With an abundance of produce available to us, it’s easy to plough through each meal without considering the long journey that each and every ingredient has taken to end up in our kitchens.

As your prepare your meal, pay attention to where your ingredients have come from, and take a moment of gratitude for the farmers and producers that work tirelessly to support and nurture their crops.

Eat mindfully

Rather than scrolling through your phone or checking emails, as you sit down to enjoy your meal, be sure to savour each and every mouthful.

Chew slowly. Appreciate the smells and colours, the textures and flavours. What flavours are immediately available to your palette and which subtler flavours come through later?

When the usual distractions are cleared, we can also pay closer attention to our bodies. That way, we’re more attuned to our hunger levels and put knife and fork down when we are fully satisfied.

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