Mindful eating is a great way to teach kids how to pay attention. Inviting kids to bring awareness to all 5 of their senses is a very concrete experience because the senses are so tangible when eating. Mindful eating also resonates with kids because it can be playful – they love to be asked to listen to a raisin or an apple or even a piece of pizza!
Kids are constantly bombarded with attention zappers – from video games to fast-paced commercials, leaving their minds jumping from one thing to the next. Mindful eating provides an antidote -- through a fun and engaging way to focus on and explore one thing at a time, thus building their attention span.
Kids are also surrounded by unhealthy food and manipulative marketing that encourages their consumption. Mindful eating is a way to support children to learn to develop awareness of how they feel after eating, rather than simply eating on automatic pilot. By learning how they feel after eating, kids may then make healthier food choices – both in content and portion. This is critical when childhood obesity is an epidemic in North America. Mindful Eating is not about dieting, but rather about learning to be present while eating - so critical when over 50% of meals in America are consumed in automobiles - see Food Inc.
Sharing a mindful meal together, away from the distractions and busy demands of everyday life, creates a space for kids and families to be present not only with their food, but with each other as well.
And hey, when parents are encouraging mindful eating with our kids, we are more likely to be reminded to eat mindfully ourselves!