Mindful Eating for Kids: Why and How to Do it
Babies are born connected to their inner desires. They know exactly when they’re hungry and when they’re full. However, while growing, we give them things to distract them and start disconnecting from their inner radar. This is why mindful eating is a practice that can help children (and adults) recover their natural ability to listen to themselves and eat consciously.
Almost every parent has used games, dances and songs to make their babies eat their vegetables. And, many of them have placed their children in front of a screen when it’s time to eat. However, these activities catch children’s attention, but the act of eating becomes an automatic habit, and they forget to eat healthy.
Mindful eating tells us to focus all our attention on the act of eating, while we’re doing it. This means to eat using our five senses. Even though benefits are numerous, changing habits might be complicated. This is the reason why it’s important to do it from an early age.
Why do you need to incorporate mindful eating into your children’s habits?
Maybe you’re wondering why it’s worth the effort of incorporating mindful eating to your children’s habits. In the end, routines, housework and work tasks take all of your time and you may choose to do what’s more comfortable for you. So, why do you need to incorporate mindful eating into your children’s habits?
First and most important is that mindful eating helps children connect with their inner desires. Learning to recognize when they’re hungry and when they’re full isn’t as simple as it may seem. Even adults find it quite difficult sometimes.
Furthermore, this is often a cause of eating disorders that may evolve into serious health issues. By mindful eating, children will learn to recognize when they’re hungry and how much they should eat. Because, they’ll listen to their own body’s feelings, and this will prevent them from having eating disorders.
Besides, conscious eating will help them understand where food comes from and how valuable it is. It’ll also help them increase their environmental conscious and gratitude. Mindful eating is also very positive for promoting concentration and relaxation, which prevent stress and excessive mood changes. Thus, children learn to enjoy the taste of the food and to eat calmly.
How can you put mindful eating into practice with your family?
It’s not that difficult to put mindful eating into practice. You just have to modify certain routines and be perseverant. These are the main instructions you should follow:
- When your baby starts eating solid food, try natural and respectful activities, like baby-led weaning. This will help them form a healthy relationship with food, by self-managing the way they eat. Besides, they’ll start eating and get to know food at their own pace.
- Avoid distractions when they’re eating. Don’t let them use any games, mobile or television. Eating time is sacred and they should focus their attention on what they’re eating.
- Always eat together and at the same place. You can use that time to talk and share your experiences through the day. However, if you start arguing about something, stop the conversation and deal with it later. Eating with tension in the environment is really bad for you.
- Use all your senses. To do that, you can make your food look good on the plate. Try to combine flavors and vary a little. In addition, you can include your child in the meal preparation.
Conscious eating, conscious living
When you start mindful eating in your family life, results will come up right away. And, what’s more, you’ll notice that benefits are more than just about eating. Because, children learn to be in contact with their inner desires. Thus, they’re more aware of their emotions and it’s easier for them to be in control.
In conclusion, it’s about a minor change that can improve your children’s life quality and help them prevent future health problems. Try it and you won’t regret it.It might interest you...
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- Pierson, S., Goto, K., Giampaoli, J., Hart, S., & Wylie, A. (2019). Impacts of a mindful eating intervention on healthy food-related behaviors and mindful eating practices among elementary school children. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 17(2), 41-50. https://journals.calstate.edu/cjhp/article/view/2288
- Pierson, S., Goto, K., Giampaoli, J., Wylie, A., Seipel, B., & Buffardi, K. (2016). Development of a Mindful-Eating Intervention Program among Third Through Fifth Grade Elementary School Children and Their Parents. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 14(3), 70-76. https://journals.calstate.edu/cjhp/article/view/2070/1891