During this time of the year, food is a main topic of discussion and is the center of many family and friend gatherings. An important thing to remember during this time of the year is to engage in mindful eating. Before discussing mindful eating, let’s discuss what mindfulness is.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, mindfulness can be defined as the practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.
So what is mindful eating? Mindful eating, described by Harvard’s School of Public Health, is using all of your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food choices that you make. This helps to increase gratitude for food, which can improve the overall eating experience. It also encourages one to make choices that will be satisfying and nourishing to the body.
Now that we have a good understanding of what mindfulness is and what mindful eating is, how can I apply this to my everyday life?
When eating, we should first remove distractions. Meaning, we should remove any devices such as phones, tablets, or televisions and truly focus on our meal. This not only helps us to focus on and appreciate our food, but also helps our body to recognize hunger cues and when our body is satisfied. In addition to removing distractions, we should consider where our food came from, how it was prepared, and who it was prepared by. Remember to thank those who help to provide you and prepare your meals.
Using your senses while eating is another way to be mindful. Take note and appreciate how the food looks, tastes, smells, and feels in our body as we eat it. Once finished, one should take time to recognize how the body feels following the meal.
We should also consider how the food that we are consuming nourishes our body. Is the food that you are eating supporting a healthy body? When engaging in mindful eating, we want ti be fully aware and enjoy these moments.
How can I get my children to engage in mindful eating?
To get children engaged, we first need to model these behaviors. When it is mealtime, try your best to sit together as a family. With busy schedules, we understand that this is not always possible. Therefore, try to have one adult sit with your child/children to help model these mindfulness practices. Ask your child questions such as where do you think this lettuce came from? Where do you think this fruit came from? How do you feel when you are hungry? How do you feel when you are full? Try to help them describe these body feelings if they do not have the vocabulary to do so.
Another way to engage your child in mindful eating is to include them in the process of making food. Below is a recipe for a healthy breakfast muffin. Try making this recipe with your child from @justingredients. While making these together, discuss the ingredients. Where they came from, how they nourish the body, what is yummy, etc. Afterwards, discuss how you enjoyed spending time together creating this recipe and how it has made your day more positive.