Mindfulness is the buzz at the moment. But what exactly is it? And is it useful for eating?
Mindfulness, or the awareness of the present moment, is good for our health. When it comes to food, mindfulness helps us to listen to our bodies more. Mindful eating leads to greater enjoyment of food and mealtimes.
Kids are born with the fantastic ability to eat intuitively. They cry when they are hungry and stop eating and drinking when they are full. As we age, there is a tendency to lose this ability (or more accurately – override this ability). We need to help our kids manage in this world of excess. We need to teach our kids to listen to their internal hunger signs. To eat with awareness.
So let’s try some mindful eating to encourage you and your kids to enjoy your food more?
Top tips for mindful eating for families
1. Take a breath before you eat and be grateful
When you are showing your kids the way- perhaps try a ‘Grace’ of sort- no need to make it spiritual unless you would like to. Just a simple ‘Why don’t we all have a think about and be thankful for having this beautiful food on the table?’ or ‘Let’s all thank mum/dad for cooking this wonderful food today.’
2. Limit distractions
Turn off the tv, put your mobile and ipad in the dinner bowl, take a break from the computer. Concentrate on eating and mealtime conversation. If you take a lead role as a parent to not have distractions, you may be pleasantly surprised that the kids are happier to follow. A nice ritual we like to have is to have a dinner candle (helps keep little ones interested to stay at the table) or some nice soft dinner music.
3. Slow down
Eat more slowly so that you can enjoy the food. So you can listen to your body. Try putting your knife and fork down between bites.
4. Engaging your five senses
Take a look at the food you are about to eat. Notice the colour, the texture.
Does it have a smell? What does it smell like? Will the flavour will be similar to the smell?
As you are eating, notice the feel of the food in your hand or your fork. Is it hard or soft? Does it have the same feel in your month? As you are eating, does the texture change? Does the food soften or melt?
When you bite into the food, does it make a sound? Crunch? Loud or soft?
Now for the taste? It is tangy? Sweet? Interesting?
5. Get back in tune with your body
Think about if you are hungry and how hungry. Think about what you feel like eating, rather than what you should eat. Whilst eating, recognise when you are starting to feel satisfied.
Ask your kids whilst they are eating if their stomachs are starting to feel full?
What do you think? Will you try some mindful eating with your kids tonight?