6 May 2020

    Mindful Eating is Good for You… and the Planet

    By Emirates Nature-WWF Team ,

    This Ramadan, we invite you to reflect on your role in fighting food waste. By making small changes to how you eat, you can help save water, reduce emissions and protect forests. Here’s how...

    During Ramadan, there is a lot of discussion around overeating, and why this is bad. But no one talks about being mindful while eating, and why this is so good.

    The first few sips and bites you take when you break your fast are the most cherished. After fasting for 12-13 hours, you really savour the taste and appreciate the food and drinks around you. This reflection is a significant part of fasting. Why not expand the moment, and be mindful throughout your meal.

    Here are 7 ways you can be mindful at meal times.


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    1. Mindful of what you eat.

    The quality of the food we eat has a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. Foods should be high in nutrients, to ensure your energy levels remain high during the month long fast. They should also be free of chemicals and pesticides, which are harmful to your body and to the planet.

    Wherever possible, choose organic foods. Read the labels so that you can avoid foods that have a negative impact on the planet, like breads, chocolates and ice creams that may contain palm oil.


    Ready to go even further? Increase your portion of plant-based foods to reduce your overall environmental footsteps.


    2. Mindful of where food comes from.

    With foods being flown in from around the world, we are spoiled for choice. But do choose wisely. Pick foods that have been produced locally to support our local community, local farmers and the local economy. You may be surprised to know that 20% of fruit and vegetables consumed in the Emirates are grown locally - from dates, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and eggplants to eggs and even salmon!

    Foods that are imported have a tremendous carbon footprint as they make their way from farms in other continents to our local supermarkets.

    So the next time you dine out for Iftar or Suhoor, ask for local water. And enjoy those dates, guilt-free!


    3. Mindful of how food is prepared.

    Use your extra hours this Ramadan to prepare your meals at home. Your body will benefit from eating freshly prepared meals.

    Cooking at home is one of the best things you can do to reduce food waste and unnecessary packaging. You are in control of portions and there’s no need to worry about throwing the extra sauces and cut vegetables that the restaurant has sent.

    4. Mindful of the way you eat.

    When breaking the fast, remember to eat small bites, eat slowly and take small sips. This will help your stomach adjust after extended periods of fasting and help in digestion.


    5. Mindful of whom you are eating with.

    Ramadan is a time to spend with loved ones. Are you dining with family, children, friends or colleagues? Use this time to catch up on life and aspirations.

    If you usually eat in front of a screen trying setting aside one day a week, perhaps Fridays, for conversations and no-screen time. This will allow you to pay attention to what you eat and recognise when you are full. It’s also a great example to set for the young ones!


    6. Mindful of what's left on the table.

    Have some extra fruit or salad at the end of your Iftar? Why not save it for Suhoor. If you have extra biryani, consider saving it for the next day.

    Stock up on reusable tupperware for foods you want to save for the next day.


    7. Mindful of helping feed others.

    By cooking what you need and eating what you’ve made, you will be on track to reduce food waste. By saving a third of food, you will save 250 trillion litres of water a year. That’s 30 years’ drinking water for the entire planet!

    Avoiding a third of food going to waste will also help use 10% less energy worldwide. That’s enough energy to power over 1 billion homes for a year!


    Talk about giving back to the community this Ramadan 😀 


    By taking small steps this Ramadan, you may find that eating mindfully isn’t so hard. Once you get into the habit, you may even want to continue after 30 days!