The best ways to teach mindful eating to children.

The questions my mindful eating clients often ask are: Now that I’m exploring mindful eating myself, I’d like to pass this along to my children. What are the best ways to make mindful eating part of family life?

Here is what Jan Chozen Bays, MD, suggests in here book Mindful Eating: A Guide to Rediscovering a Healthy and Joyful Relationship with Food:  

  • Eat together, ideally once a day, or at least once a week.
  • Say grace or at least thank you to the cook before you eat.
  • Have a few moments of silence before eating, and ask your family to be aware of the colors and smells of the food on their plates.
  • Ask questions about the food. For example, Where does bread come from? How many people can they imagine were involved in bringing it to our table?
  • Try a new food by doing the basic mindful eating exercise with the whole family. 
  • An Asian or Indian food market is a good place to look for unusual fruits or crackers.
  • Do some research and talk about the history of a new fruit or food. Introduce your children to the seven hungers.
  • Respect their natural appestats by not forcing food.
  • At the same time, encourage them to try at least one bite of a new food and tell you about what they see, smell, taste, and feel in their mouths. 
  • Relax, have fun, and be curious with your children as you eat.

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