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How to Practice Mindful Eating with These 8 Apps

Why is everybody talking about mindfulness and using apps to adopt mindful eating habits? Is there anything for me too? Yes, I bet it is something that anybody can benefit from, especially if one is too prone to some "comfort foods" or binge-eating.
What is mindful eating actually about? This is about being aware of your physical and mental states, being fully present in the moment of food consumption, enjoying your meal, understanding when and what you want to eat and feeling when you are full. On the opposite side of the spectrum are emotionally or socially inflicted unhealthy eating patterns that are damaging your digestion, body, and mind (we are leaving severe eating disorders aside since they are to be treated with professional help).

Practicing mindful eating seems to be a piece of cake, right? However, we find ourselves often in situations like these: eating everything that is on the plate even when you're already full; shoveling up a pack of ice cream as a compensation for a bad day; buying popcorn at the cinema just because all your friends did. If you recognize yourself in any of these behaviors (and the list is far from being exhaustive), you will definitely benefit from revising your relationship with food. Good for us that there are so many apps that can help you on your way to mindful eating!
Best Apps for Mindful Eating
But before we unpack each and every app, scrutinizing its pros and cons, let's define the devil we are fighting: what are exactly these unhealthy food behaviors that we often label as mindless eating?
Mindless eating can indeed be a dietary scourge of our generations. To put it in simple terms, mindless eating is a state of eating without tacking what and how much one eats. One stops feeling physical hunger and, as a result, he or she is led by emotional hunger, which often triggers overeating or making bad food choices. This eating pattern might have regular or sporadic character, often as a consequence of stress, emotional state, or other circumstances. It also has a detrimental effect on our health, with the weight gain being the most obvious.

What are the different types of mindless eating, often put under the umbrella of emotional eating? There are a bunch of categories like binge-eating (which is a severe disorder that should also be aided by specialists), "disposal" eating (when you are not hungry anymore but have a habit to eat everything that's on your plate), sorrow-eating, reward-eating, lost sense of hunger, social eating, and boredom eating. In any case, mindlessly devouring food should not be an emotional coping mechanism or a social habit — it is vital to break this vicious circle.
The apps listed here do not inflict any diet restrictions or ready-made eating systems. They don't involve calorie-tracking, exercising to earn food, or 'weight-loss' programs. Most of these apps don't track what you eat but aim at working with your thoughts and habits. We've discussed mindful food journaling (which is also tremendously helpful to cultivate mindful eating!) in the previous article, so check it out if you haven't already.

Though sharing the same aim — helping you treat mindless eating — these apps are tremendously different: some aid you in making the right choice at the very moment you crave for something (by evaluating your hunger-level); others let you rethink your relationship with food through mental exercises, meditations, and journaling. Some tools combine the two approaches with social accountability. There are many techniques to find a way to mindful eating so it is helpful to review the most effective apps at once to figure out what would work the best for you.
Savor: Nourish Body & Mind mindful eating app Savor: Nourish Body & Mind mindful eating app Savor: Nourish Body & Mind mindful eating app
Our general attempts to change eating patterns and food addictions involve all sorts of manipulations related to food: restricting, dieting, calculating, preparing in advance… It comes as a surprise that you can get a much better result if you start journaling about your food choices and diet frustrations! Savor is a great tool just for that!

With this app, you get access to guided journaling sessions and exercises that will help you to become more mindful about eating and leave the feelings of frustration and guilt behind. Moreover, it doesn't track the food you eat to suggest you momentary alterations but opts for working on a deeper level to ensure long-lasting changes. The program is structured into several courses, from a foundational one to more specialized ones. You will be gradually building up your knowledge and skills to become a mindful eater. As a bonus, it has a very pleasant interface and has the option of sending you reminders to do your practice sessions in the morning and journaling in the evening so that you stay motivated.

It is though important to remember that Savor is not a one-minute tool to prevent you from sorrow-eating, for example. You will get the most of this app only with dedication, regular practice, and accepting that the changes don't happen the moment you download this app. Savor offers its basic course for free, other courses are available only with a rather expensive subscription (but you can always check the first lesson of each course for free).
Savor: Nourish Body & Mind is available for free on iOS and Android with an optional Premium subscription.
Am I Hungry?® Virtual Coach mindful eating app Am I Hungry?® Virtual Coach mindful eating app Am I Hungry?® Virtual Coach mindful eating app
Am I Hungry? will guide you through a "mindful eating circle", that is through seven questions that help you understand your food choices and impulses much better. The program is developed by a practicing physician and its principles are based on a quality-research that has already aided many mindless eaters.

It works rather straightforward: whenever you find yourself reaching your junk-shelf or mindlessly checking what's in the fridge, you should open this app and go through this circle of seven questions. As a result, you will become more mindful of your cravings and will learn to differentiate between emotional and physical hunger. If you use this app on a long-term basis, you will probably start noticing patterns and, eventually, realize what's the root of your emotional attachment to certain foods, for example. According to its users, this app is "like my own personal food therapist!" — indeed, a personal therapist in your pocket.

However, you won't get this therapist for free — you'd need to pay around three dollars for it. The real downside is that the app doesn't have a trial period and some users report that it crushes. It might seem rather silly to pay for a very simple app that contains only these seven questions. Yes, you can easily google the "mindful eating circle" and go through these questions on your own, but the app makes the process convenient and raises your chances of doing this practice regularly.
Am I Hungry?® Virtual Coach is available on iOS and Android for 2.99$.
Leave emotional eating behind mindful eating app Leave emotional eating behind mindful eating app Leave emotional eating behind mindful eating app
It is an audio-guided program devoted to emotional eating and the process of overcoming it. This app is basically an immensely useful podcast that you can listen to on your way to work or at the gym! You will learn to recognize emotional eating in its different forms and various methods of managing these behaviors, mostly by practicing emotional literacy and developing other coping mechanisms that don't involve food. The guided sessions will also teach you to detect the emotions that trigger food consumption (like sorrow, loneliness, or boredom) and provide some useful tools and exercises to cope with them.

Leave Emotional Eating Behind has five parts, each divided into smaller chunks of 5–10 minutes. It makes it easy to squeeze this program into your timetable as well as comprehend the new information and do the exercises.
This audio program would be a good supplement and an informative tool for clearing up your eating habits and attachments, though it might be hard to keep the motivation to do it daily. The app won't provide you with reminders or some sort of a tracker to keep the record of completed tasks. And here comes the biggest downside — unless you're a customer of Thriveworks (which is a US-based counseling platform), you won't be able to get access to this fountain of knowledge about emotional eating.
Leave Emotional Eating Behind is available for free on iOS and Android only for Thriveworks subscribers.
Digital CBTe mindful eating app Digital CBTe mindful eating app Digital CBTe mindful eating app
The app is designed by the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford University (CREDO) — sounds fancy, doesn't it? Though their treatment program is still being researched and improved, the app has already yielded excellent results. It is built on a self-help program that, first, helps you when feeling an attack of binge-eating and, secondly, aids you in regaining control over food in general. The program is divided into three bigger steps and small exercises as well as suggestions for alternative activities. It also records your binge-eating and treatment progress that will keep you motivated and on track.

Although I am in love with the apps that are built on thorough clinical research and involve approaches from cognitive and behavior therapy, there are some cons too. Digital CBTe only treats binge-eating so it won't be entirely suitable for those experiencing other forms of mindless eating. It also doesn't have the most welcoming interface. And as a footnote: although you get this app for free, one should complete a pre-registration before using it.
Digital CBTe is available on iOS and Android for free.
Eat Breath Thrive mindful eating app Eat Breath Thrive mindful eating app Eat Breath Thrive mindful eating app
The mission of this app is threefold: to evaluate your hunger at the moment, to help you set goals and find practices that bring you to mindfulness, and to provide you with meditations when you need them. Let's go through these functions one by one and see how they can help you to adopt mindful eating.

First, evaluating hunger — their checklist is essential for evaluating whether you have a physical or emotional hunger. Do you really need to eat or should you be more mindful? It does actually a good job of reminding us that you can't have a pure physical hunger, it's always a mixture of two, though one or another part can be more prevalent at the moment.
The further steps assist you with becoming a mindful-eater and reducing the level of stress: through meditations and quizzes, you explore your core values and identify what kind of practices make you feel better. A customizable reminder will urge you to repeatedly practice these activities that are valuable for you (like reading, walking or one-minute journaling).

It's an excellent idea that enhances both eating awareness and general mindfulness. However, the self-care scorecard (with which you identify these beneficial practices) can be annoying, long, and fuzzy and meditations are not on the level of more popular meditation apps like Calm or Headspace. It also seems that the app wasn't updated for a while. However, it's absolutely free so give it a try!
Eat Breathe Thrive is available on iOS for free.
I deserve a donut mindful eating app I deserve a donut mindful eating app I deserve a donut mindful eating app
You will never guess what is hidden behind this title… the Bible! Don't quit reading now, this app is actually a fantastic tool to cope with eating disorders, realize their emotional or social origins and adopt mindful eating. Apart from the biblical quotes that are used to battle "lies that make you eat", the app breaks up mindless eating into specific recognizable patterns, provides you with questionnaires and explanations for some behaviors.

It works rather simple: in a tempting situation, open this app and choose what your craving for food is triggered by, like specific emotions or boredom (there are more than 10 options!). Then, You Deserve a Donut will guide you through questions about your food dependencies and, in the end, you will get a series of quotes related to your emotional connection to food (like reward-eating) so that you get "a biblical perspective on life". The tools provided by the app are based on self-discovery and self-understanding, religious meditation, and correcting your eating disorders.
The app is great in addressing different types of eating disorders inflicted by emotions or social practices (I praise them for including "Garbage disposal eating" in their list which is so rare!). I Deserve a Donut is excellent for those to whom religious encouragement is a way to go. It has indeed helped so many people: 4.9/5 stars on AppStore speak for themselves.

Obviously, the app doesn't plan to convert you into a passionate devotee so don't be afraid and have a look; its questionnaires are really worth it. On the other hand, the app will be rather hard to use for those who are not skilled in the biblical language with its metaphors and cross-references. It also won't suit those for whom religiously-motivated explanations simply don't work: you can prefer scientific-based apps or those involving more social accountability — it's totally understandable.
I Deserve a Donut is available on iOS and Android for free.
Eat Right Now mindful eating app Eat Right Now mindful eating app Eat Right Now mindful eating app
"A truly life-changing app" — an intriguing start, right? This is a 28-day program designed by an addiction psychiatrist and a mindfulness expert to aid you in managing eating disorders and adopting mindful eating. Through informative audios and videos, you are introduced to the "science" of eating mindfully, which you can then practice daily with exercises, tests, craving evaluations, and journaling.

Eat Right Now evaluates your progress and, if you are a premium user, gives you access to coach advice and peer-support. Together with daily reminders, this app is made to keep you on this 28-day track of learning mindful eating and of improving your life quality in general. Obviously, you can come back to some of the exercises or repeat the program when you feel the need in it. The program is loved by its users, who gave it 4.8/5 on AppStore. It is described as "integral for change" and "transformative" — it seems to be worthy!

There is no such thing as a free lunch, however. One gets a trial period of four days to test this app, which could be too short a time for some of us. Afterward, there are several subscription options: a monthly subscription costs 24.99$, for example. It is not cheap, but if you commit to this 28-day program, you won't need to pay more than that. Anyways, it is cheaper than a personal coach and seems to give excellent results! But be aware that such a program requires indeed a lot of commitment and time; it's not something you do for a few minutes once in a while but a full-fledged project. Take it seriously, like for real, if you want to get the most out of it and not to lose money.
Eat Right Now is available on iOS and Android for a free trial period with a monthly subscription plan afterward.
Headspace app mindful eating meditation
The famous meditation app couldn't miss the topic of mindful eating, trust me. Headspace has designed a special meditation series that will teach you this practice, step by step, through guided meditations (thanks, captain obvious). You can find a detailed description of this 30-day meditation series and a free booklet already containing some of the exercises here. Therefore, you prepare in advance and evaluate whether this practice is worth the investment of your time and money or not.

As you might know, Headspace is based on monthly subscriptions of 12.99$ and allows you to test just a few basic meditations for free. Obviously, one would need a subscription to enjoy the mindful eating meditation series so it's not an option for each and every one of us. However, the situation is the same as with Eat Right Now: if you are dedicated and you feel you have enough time on your hands to commit to such a practice, one monthly subscription should be enough to get through the course, right? Counting the life-changing benefits it should bring, it's not a bad deal. As a bonus, you're getting access to other excellent meditations. Headspace is a great tool for enhancing your overall mindfulness, be it in food, relationship, sleep, or work-life balance.
Headspace is available on iOS and Android for a free trial period with a subscription plan afterward.
mindful eating aided by an app
Your meal will look like this when you start eating mindfully!
The apps reviewed here are so different and are based on completely distinct approaches that make it hard (or rather impossible) to nominate a "winner". I would suggest that if you can invest time and money, try Eat Right Now for it combines a very scientific approach to treating eating disorders with the benefits of various daily practices. Alternatively, you can turn to the free version of Savor with its basic course: you will get the idea of mindful eating and what are the ways of adopting this lifestyle. If you're opting for an immediate tool to prevent you from emotional overeating or consuming junk, try Eat Breathe Thrive with its free hunger level evaluation quiz or chip in a bit for Am I Hungry?® Virtual Coach.

In the end, you can choose any of these apps, but for tangible results you should persevere and regularly work on your emotional health and your relationship with food. It is for a reason that more and more people are turning to mindful eating since this practice not only harmonizes your food attachments, but reduces your stress, normalizes weight, and teaches you emotional literacy and self-respect. This is something we all would love to improve, right?