Mindful Eating Book Reviews and Recommendations
Updated Dec. 25, 2023
Try eating without watching YouTube, scrolling on your phone, or chatting with a bestie or business colleague at a restaurant.
Just eat slowly? In silence? Without reading or watching anything but the food?!
Hard to imagine, right?
I’m writing this blog to remind ME to do this! And to remind YOU.
And it applies to ALL of life.
Eating mindfully will help you lose weight because you’ll undoubtedly consume fewer calories. But it will ALSO benefit you in a million other ways.
Let me explain.
As I always hear mindfulness teachers say, “The quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.”
By taking this simple practice of slowing down and paying attention to the present moment, you’re more in tune with your hunger cues, the flavor of the food, and the state of your mind at any given moment.
Here I want to share the best books I’ve read on mindful eating, along with a few on my “wish” list in Audible.
And bonus – there are a couple of mindfulness books at the end that aren’t about the food topic, but you’ll LOVE them nonetheless. I promise. 🙂
Mindful Eating Books (featured in the video)
“IF THE BUDDHA CAME TO DINNER” by Hale Sofia Schatz
A book that explores the practice of mindful eating through the lens of Buddhist teachings. The book offers insights and guidance on cultivating a more conscious and aware relationship with food and eating.
The author draws parallels between mindfulness and eating, suggesting that the same principles that guide mindfulness meditation can be applied to our meals.
Schatz emphasizes the importance of being fully present while eating, savoring each bite, and appreciating the sensory experience of food.
She encourages readers to pay attention to their hunger and satiety cues, listen to their bodies, and make choices that honor physical and emotional needs.
MINDFUL EATING TIPS
- Engage Your Senses: Take the time to truly see, smell, taste, and feel the texture of your food. Engaging your senses can enhance your connection to the present moment.
- Slow Down: Eat slowly, allowing yourself to savor each bite. Greater enjoyment and a better understanding of your body’s cues.
- Eliminate Distractions: Turn off screens, put away devices, and focus solely on your meal. Prevents mindless eating and encourages present-moment awareness.
- Express Gratitude: Take a moment before eating to express gratitude for the food, the people involved in preparing it, and the nourishment it provides.
- Observe Your Thoughts and Emotions: Notice any thoughts or emotions that arise while eating without judgment. This can lead to a deeper understanding of your relationship with food.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re actually hungry, and stop when you’re satisfied.
- Chew Thoroughly: Chew your food slowly and thoroughly. Aids digestion and allows you to fully experience the flavors and textures.
- Mindful Preparation: Extend mindfulness to the preparation process. Engage with the ingredients and the act of nourishing yourself and others.
- Practice Compassion: Approach yourself and your eating habits with kindness and compassion. Avoid self-criticism.
- Cultivate Awareness of Cravings: Notice any cravings that arise and explore whether they are based on genuine hunger or emotional triggers. Don’t label them “bad” or “good” just observe them.
The book combines practical advice with spiritual insights, providing a guide to transform eating into a mindful and fulfilling practice.
It encourages readers to view eating as an opportunity to nourish not just the body but also the mind and spirit.
Honestly, if you just follow the list above, you will be better off than 99% of the population without even reading the book.
I recommend reading the list twice and practicing just ONE of the ideas for a week, at every meal, and see how differently you feel and eat.
“MINDLESS EATING” by Brian Wansink
A thought-provoking exploration of the surprising factors that influence our eating habits.
Dr. Wansink is a food psychologist with years of experience, so he offers compelling insights as to why we make the food choices we do.
The study of food psychology reveals how our environment, social cues, and even the size of our plates can significantly impact what and how much we eat.
The book is endlessly entertaining because Wansink demonstrates how our minds can play tricks on us when it comes to food.
For instance, he explains how larger portions can lead to overeating without us even realizing it and how the subtlest changes in presentation can influence our food choices.
The author avoids technical jargon and presents his findings in a relatable manner.
“Mindless Eating” provides practical solutions.
The author offers numerous tips and strategies to help readers become more mindful eaters. These strategies are not about diets or deprivation but rather about making small, manageable changes to our eating environment and habits.
While the book’s primary focus is on the individual’s relationship with food, it also touches on broader societal issues like the obesity epidemic and the role of the food industry.
It encourages readers to ask the right questions about what they’re eating and what they’re being exposed to – so they can make better choices proactively.
There are hidden forces that shape our eating habits, but after you finish this book, you’ll feel empowered.
Prepare to improve your relationship with food and start thinking about your meals in a whole new way.
It’s a must-read for anyone interested in nutrition, psychology, or simply enjoying a healthier and more mindful approach to eating.
“SAVOR” – Mindfulness Essentials, Book 1 by Thich Nhat Hanh
This book is written by a world-renowned Zen master, so of course, it’s going to cover the importance of mindfulness.
With consistent practice, we’re able to remove the shame and guilt surrounding food and overeating.
The self-blame disappears with practice because we’re no longer dwelling on the past.
As we return to each present moment, we get to make each new decision from a fresh mind. A healthy mind.
This book will get you to that place. That place where WE have the power to make positive changes in our lives.
Thich Nhat Hanh co-authored this book with a Harvard nutritionist, Dr. Lilian Cheung, so both the spiritual and practical levels of eating healthfully are covered.
There are practical tools, including goal setting, nutrition, and a mindful living plan.
Savor teaches us how to easily adopt the practice of mindfulness and integrate it into eating, exercise, and all aspects of our daily lives.
It is the awareness of the present moment and the realization of why we do what we do that enables us to stop feeling bad and start changing our behavior.
Savor brings to the surface the rich abundance of life available to us in every moment.
Mindful Eating Audiobooks
These books were shown at the end of the video as audiobooks. Practicing mindfulness while taking a walk and listening to Audible is a fun exercise!
But of course, each book is also available in paperback. Whatever you prefer, the tools and support are there to help you.
“HOW TO EAT” – Mindfulness Essentials, Book 2 by Thich Nhat Hanh
This is a follow-up to “SAVOR” (mentioned above). It’s available in regular hard copies or Audible.
This is an invitation to a joyful and sustainable relationship with all aspects of eating, including gardening, food shopping, preparing, serving, and even cleaning up after a meal.
This second book in the bestselling Mindfulness Essentials series, a back-to-basics collection from world-renowned Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, introduces everyone to the essentials of mindfulness practice.
These short meditations cover everything from eating with others and enjoying our food to connecting with the Earth. How to Eat is a welcome reminder that the benefits of mindful eating are both personal and global.Amazon Book Description
“EAT TO LOVE” – A Mindful Guide to Transforming Your Relationship with Food, Body, and Life” by Jenna Hollenstein
Eat to Love is a joyful, non-diet approach to mindfulness, intuitive eating, and falling in love with the body you live in.
In Eat to Love, nutritionist Jenna Hollenstein leads a spiritual revolution against pervasive attitudes towards food and dieting, and demonstrates how to free your mind from the fear, frustration, and shame often associated with eating.
Through a series of revelatory exercises, along with simple instructions for time-proven mindfulness and meditation techniques, you’ll learn to identify prejudices around eating and reset your relationship with food. Eat to Love is not a diet book, not a “clean eating” manual, and not a guide to “being your best self.” Rather, it is a liberating path to sanity, and to loving the body you have right now.
Since early childhood, many of us have heard that something is wrong with our bodies: with the way they look, the way they feel and the food we crave. This diet culture – surrounding us in the form of media, fashion, food trends, and even messages from friends and family – tells us that the only way to be happy is to be thin and to rigidly follow the latest eating dogma.
Eat to Love challenges this insidious, pervasive messaging and resets your relationship with food from one that’s shameful to one that’s nourishing, liberating, and enriching.Amazon Book Description
“MINDFUL EATING” – A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food By Jan Chozen Bays
In the audio version, the author reads the book herself, which really helps. Everything has the tone in which it was intended.
She mentions Zen Buddhism now and again, which was fine by me – since “being Zen” is about being mindful.
The art of mindfulness can transform our struggles with food – and renew our sense of pleasure, appreciation, and satisfaction with eating.
Drawing on recent research and integrating her experiences as a physician and meditation teacher, Dr. Jan Bays offers a wonderfully clear presentation of what mindfulness is and how it can help with food issues.
Mindful eating is an approach that involves bringing one’s full attention to the process of eating – to all the tastes, smells, thoughts, and feelings that arise during a meal. Whether you are overweight, suffer from an eating disorder, or just want to get more out of life, this book offers a simple tool that can make a remarkable difference.Amazon Book Description
The book has practical tips. It’s an easy, enjoyable read. And of course, it includes exercises you can implement at your own pace.
Best of all, these exercises WORK if you use them!
“MINDFUL EATING FOR WEIGHT LOSS” – Surround Yourself with Mindful Moments for Long-Term Weight-Loss By Simone E. Clark
The book includes a step-by-step guide to practicing mindful eating, how to tell the difference between emotional and physical hunger, the reason why people return to their original weight after losing it (and how to avoid it happening to you), and how to handle social situations.
You’ll learn about the “raisin exercise” and the best part, you’ll learn why you should never count calories!
Diets don’t work for weight loss. Mindful eating does. Find out how, and get started right away!
It is estimated that 45 million Americans go on a diet every year, yet most of those who manage to lose weight regain it in a matter of years.
The diet industry thrives on our desire to lose weight, but ultimately, it does more to trim our finances than it does to trim our waistlines. The truth is that the more we diet, the more out of touch we become with our bodies.
Every second we’re counting calories or banning food groups from our plates, we become less aware of what our body truly needs. And the irony is, it is only when we know what our body needs that we can lose weight in a realistic and sustainable way.
So, if diets don’t work and if calorie counting is a waste of time, how will we ever manage to reach our goal weight?
The answer is mindful eating.
This has become a bit of a buzzword in recent years, but that’s no reason to dismiss it. Mindful eating is the simple concept of being aware of what you’re eating and its relationship to your body. It can change your whole world.
Simply by understanding the mind-body connection and learning to differentiate between what you need and what you want, you can see serious health benefits and lose the extra weight for good – without ever going on a diet again.Amazon Book Description
With any of these books, you’ll soon learn that portion control becomes effortless, not because you have to but because you enjoy the practice of eating mindfully!
VERY Honorable Mindfulness Book Mentions
I’d like to add two books that I really love. One is about self-awareness of our thinking (vs. our thoughts). And one is how to break up with your cell phone addiction.
They’re both important for different reasons – and they’ll both help you cultivate extra time in “awareness of the thinker” mode (as compared to unrestrained mental chatter).
An excellent book written by Joseph Nguyen that promises, “You’ll discover the root cause of all psychological and emotional suffering and how to achieve freedom of mind to effortlessly create the life you’ve always wanted to live.“
Nguyen explores the nature of human thinking, the common errors and biases that influence our thoughts, and the impact of these cognitive processes on our emotions and well-being.
He has two other books in the series, but this is the one I find most relevant and helpful.
The main concepts in the book include:
- Critical Examination of Thinking:
Joseph encourages his readers to critically examine their own thought processes and understand the limitations and potential pitfalls of human cognition. He emphasizes that our thoughts are not always accurate or reliable, and it’s crucial to question and challenge them.
- Cognitive Biases and Errors:
Nguyen also delves into other cognitive biases and errors that often distort our perception of reality. Examples include confirmation bias, where individuals tend to seek out information that confirms their existing beliefs, and hindsight bias, where events seem more predictable after they have occurred.
- The Relationship Between Thinking and Emotions:
The book covers all the ways our thoughts influence our emotions and, consequently, our overall mental well-being. By understanding the connection between thinking patterns and emotional responses, readers are encouraged to develop greater emotional intelligence and resilience.
- Mindfulness and Awareness:
Mindfulness is a central theme in the book. My favorite topic (besides communication)! 🙂 Nguyen advocates for the practice of mindfulness as a tool to observe and detach from one’s thoughts. By cultivating awareness of thoughts as they arise, individuals can create distance and choose how to respond, reducing automatic and potentially harmful reactions.
- The Role of Language in Thinking:
Joseph examines the role of language in shaping our thoughts. He discusses how the words we use can impact our perceptions and emotions, highlighting the importance of choosing language mindfully to foster more accurate and constructive thinking.
- Strategies for Improved Thinking:
Throughout the book, Nguyen provides practical strategies for improving thinking processes. This includes developing a healthy skepticism toward one’s thoughts, seeking diverse perspectives, and recognizing the influence of emotions on reasoning.
- Reducing Unnecessary Suffering:
The main message of the book is that by becoming more aware of our thought patterns and recognizing cognitive biases, individuals can reduce unnecessary suffering in their lives. By challenging and reframing unhelpful thoughts, readers can cultivate a more positive and realistic mindset.
This can apply to those working on eating healthier, treating others with more compassion, reducing their anxiety, and enjoying life in each moment, even when very big challenges arise.
Side note – Joseph narrates the Audible version of this book, and his voice is very soothing!
“Don’t Believe Everything You Think” serves as a guide to understanding the complexities of human thinking, identifying cognitive biases, and employing mindfulness practices to navigate the challenges of daily life with greater clarity and emotional well-being.
This next book helps address some of the more materialistic causes of a distracted mind.
A self-help book written by Catherine Price that addresses the issue of smartphone addiction. She helps you figure out if you might be addicted.
And she offers practical strategies for developing a healthier relationship with technology.
The book is structured as a 30-day plan, guiding readers through a gradual process of reducing screen time and cultivating a more mindful and intentional approach to smartphone use.
Key strategies from the book include:
- Awareness of Smartphone Use:
The author emphasizes the importance of becoming aware of one’s smartphone habits, including the frequency and duration of use. Through self-reflection, readers are encouraged to recognize the impact of excessive screen time on their well-being.
- Setting Clear Intentions:
Price guides readers in setting clear intentions for cell phone use. This involves identifying specific goals and values that can be compromised by excessive device use. By understanding personal priorities, individuals can work towards aligning their actions with their values.
- Creating Healthy Habits:
The book introduces practical tips for establishing healthier habits around smartphone use. This includes setting designated times for checking messages, implementing “phone-free” zones, and gradually reducing the reliance on the device for entertainment or distraction.
- Mindful Engagement:
Mindfulness techniques are introduced to help individuals be more present and intentional in their daily activities. And, of course, these techniques apply to all other aspects of our lives. The book suggests incorporating moments of mindfulness into daily routines, such as meals and walks, to break the cycle of constant smartphone engagement.
- Digital Detox Strategies:
The concept of a digital detox is explored, encouraging readers to take breaks from their phones for extended periods. This can involve unplugging during weekends, holidays, or other designated times, allowing for a mental reset and fostering a healthier relationship with technology.
- Establishing Boundaries:
Setting clear boundaries with the smartphone is emphasized, including adjusting notification settings, minimizing social media use, and being intentional about when and where the phone is used. Creating physical and mental boundaries helps reclaim control over one’s attention and time. These are very actionable tips – and the keys to success – but a person has to be ready for change.
- Reflecting on Personal Growth:
Throughout the 30-day plan, readers are prompted to reflect on their experiences, challenges, and successes. This reflective process is designed to reinforce positive changes and help individuals recognize the benefits of a more mindful and intentional approach to smartphone use.
“How to Break Up with Your Phone” provides a structured, simple guide for individuals seeking to break free from smartphone addiction, promoting a healthier and more conscious relationship with technology.
The book combines practical advice, behavioral strategies, and mindfulness principles to empower readers to regain control over their digital habits and their time.
That’s All the Mindfulness “for Now” (haha)
Gosh, I’m glad you are a part of this community.
Together, we’re going to eat mindfully, eat healthfully (however that looks for you), and spread kindness in this world!
If you know someone who can use some mindfulness support with their eating habits, please share this article. And if I missed one of your favorite mindfulness books, please post it down below.