12 Reasons to Eat Mindfully as a Family
- Eating mindfully encourages us to create a conscious relationship with our food – to be conscious of what we are eating, how we are eating, what we notice about our food– rather than eating on automatic pilot or while multi-tasking.
- When parents teach children how to eat mindfully, we are reminded to eat mindfully ourselves – and we may be the ones who need it most.
- As Hippocrates said, “Food is medicine...” Eating mindfully encourages gratitude towards our food and the nourishment it provides – rather than taking it for granted.
- Your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your brain you are full, so eating mindfully supports developing awareness of when we have eaten enough.
- Food brings people together – it is surrounded by rich traditions of family and community gatherings. Mindful eating invites us to partake in no other task but eating – not television, texting, working – just enjoying a meal in solitude or with others.
- 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.
- Eating mindfully is an invitation to slow down from the busyness of everyday life and to savour the moment by savouring our food.
- 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 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 during and after eating, which supports them in making healthier food choices – both in content and portion. Developing such food intelligence is an antidote to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in North America.
- Eating mindfully can be a lovely launching pad into rich discussions about ecology and the interconnection of all things.
- Eating mindfully nurtures children’s natural curiosity by creating a moment for them to reflect on both familiar and novel foods with a beginner’s mind.
- Mindful eating can support families with a picky eater by inviting a curiosity about new foods with a playful, light sense of adventure, rather than automatically assuming the food won't be liked.
A Few Simple Steps
- Prepare and share a meal.
- Eat at a table, away from TVs, computers & phones.
- Slowly observe your food with each of your 5 senses:
- How does it smell?
- What colours, shapes, patterns do you see?
- How does it sound when you take a bite?
- What does it feel like as you chew?
- What tastes do you notice?
- Take your time to fully savour each bite.
- Swallow and repeat!
- Talk with each other about what you observe.
You might be amazed by what you discover!