When was the last time you genuinely appreciated a meal? A desirable meal is one that is full of colour, flavour and aroma. However, we hardly notice, feel, smell and taste the food mindfully due to the conundrums of everyday life.

Being mindful is not as easy as it sounds and neither too hard as it looks. So forget about years, forget about months and forget about days. Just start by focussing on minutes.

Giving even a few minutes to sit quietly and consider the food's texture, taste and temperature can help us feel more connected with our mind and body. Whether it is a red apple or a green grape, hot soup or a cold chilled lemon drink, gratitude should be there for these special fuels – the fuels that energise the body and nourish the soul.

In other words, concentrating on one thing at a time is the first step towards mindful practice.

This process motivates one to slow down for a while and promotes a healthy focus. In fact, only with thoughtful attention can we truly savour a meal.

This is what we call the art of eating. And such skills can be developed gradually.

This Buddhist concept involves several habits. The very first move is distinguishing between true hunger and non-hunger triggers for eating.

Similarly, having a meal slowly and without distraction is vital.

Moreover, it is essential to notice the colours and presentation of food.

As they say, we eat first with our eyes, and hence it is of utmost importance to become conscious of what is on our plate. We become more accepting and, therefore, more trusting with full awareness of our own experience.

Self-trust does not strive for perfection but instead relies on consistency and compassion.

Thus, being gentle, kind and understanding with oneself is an essential aspect of this philosophy.

This principle directs all of our attention and awareness to the present, bringing several benefits to our mental and physical health. Research has shown that a healthy body creates a healthy mind. This solid yet simple idea helps us improve our diet, manage food cravings, and even lose weight.

The core of this healthy and happy eating strategy is to recognise our relationship with food. This is to say that it is all about lifestyle modification.

Making sustainable lifestyle change is a process that may take time, dedication and process; but it is worthwhile. Thus, mindful eating matters!

A version of this article appears in the print on May 17, 2022, of The Himalayan Times.