How do you teach your children to eat mindfully???
While sitting around the table eating lunch today, I instructed my 3-year-old to put away the iPad while she ate... with some exasperation in my voice.
“But why?” went her predictable refrain, the daily soundtrack of my life.
I wanted to fire back, “Because I don’t want you to become one of those rude, overly-indulged kids that never learns to make eye contact.”
But instead I decided to think about my reasons and give her a satisfactory answer.
“Because when you’re distracted while eating, you won’t be paying attention to how your body feels so you know when you’re full.”
As I said the words, I realized I could stand to benefit from my own advice.
I realized that while I try to avoid eating in front of a computer or television screen, too often, my mind is distracted with to-do-lists while I eat (that being a subset of ALL THE TIME), and before I know it, I’ve eaten past the point of being full.
When we eat slowly and mindfully, we can enjoy our food more, relax more, and stick to our eating plans.
I vowed to eat more mindfully to model this behavior for my children.
Here are some tips to eat mindfully and teach mindful eating to your kids:
1. At dinner time, put on a piece of quiet classical music or jazz that lasts at least a half hour. Agree to all stay seated and eating until it’s over.
2. Talk about your food with your children while you eat: its temperature, its texture, why you like it, how you made it. “This juicy cantaloupe is so refreshing. There’s nothing I like more in the summer.”
3. Drink two glasses of water while you eat to make the meal last longer and make you feel fuller.
4. Light candles to create a mood of serenity while you eat.
5. Try to be present during the meal. This is the hardest one for me, especially after a day at the office, chalk-full of meetings, projects, and interactions.
How do you practice and model mindful eating?