We all know that eating is necessary to stay alive. We also know that eating in access contributes to obesity. But where is the middle ground? Can you and your children eat healthy, enjoy your food, and thrive from the good choices you have made? Absolutely! One of the keys is mindful eating, and it is something that children and adults alike can benefit from.
Just what is mindful eating? In a nutshell, it is being aware of the food you are eating along with why you are eating it, and eating only when you are genuinely hungry. Here are some tips to practice mindful eating at every meal:
Eat without distractions. Too many children and adults eat their meals with distractions: smartphone, laptop, TV, tablet, etc. What happens is that eating becomes a mindless, robotic action while we focus on something else. Eating should be a deliberate and conscious act. Mealtime should be exactly what the word implies – time for meals, family conversation, and healthy nourishment.
Focus on the sensations. You can increase children’s awareness of the food they are eating by encouraging them to focus on the sensations that food provides. For instance, ask your child’s opinion about whether or not a certain food is spicy, or if they can guess what you are cooking by the smell. Help them take notice of the crunch an apple makes when they bite into it.
Be an example. Parents set the example for their children. Little ones usually like to mimic what their mommy and daddy are doing. You cannot expect them to eat mindfully if you are practically inhaling dinner or you are checking your email on your phone at the table. Slow down and appreciate your food at mealtimes, and your children will too!