Our relationship to food is a central one that reflects our attitudes toward our environment and ourselves. As a practice, mindful eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, and insight into the roots of health and contentment.

Here are our five tips to consume consciously.

1. Understand that food is energy.

We eat to survive, so don’t feel bad about eating. Just make sure you use the energy. If you exercise regularly, your digestion will improve. Even if you just take a short walk before or after a meal, you can help increase circulation and kick your metabolism into gear.

2. Use a smaller plate.

Generally, our stomachs can comfortably fit and digest a portion of food no larger than what can fit in the palms of your two hands. However, the portions we eat, especially at restaurants, can be waaaay more than what we need. So when you can, choose a salad plate or a small bowl to help control your portion.

3. Bless your food.

Taking a moment to acknowledge where your food came from, or the person who cooked it, can give you a new perspective and appreciation for what you’re about to eat. Before you dig in and start chowing down, know that you’re lucky to have this food, and set the intention for it to fulfill and energize you.

4. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly.

Slow down when eating, because it might take a little time for your stomach to send messages to your brain that you’re full. Chewing your food carefully not only helps you slow down, but it also creates less work for your digestive system. This is how you prevent a tummy ache and help yourself feel fuller faster.

5. Take a break before eating seconds.

Even if you want more, just pause for a minute or two. Perhaps you need a glass of water. Or see how you feel if you stand up for a moment. Notice if you’re getting more food because you’re hungry or because you just want to eat. If you take a moment to check in with yourself, you’ll probably feel better about your choice.