All babies are born with an innate sense of when they are hungry, as well as when they are full. Fostering mindful eating at a young age helps children listen to their bodies’ cues and translates to a healthier relationship with food as an adult. Plus, setting boundaries for meal and snack times will ultimately lead to a calmer, more enjoyable experience for the whole family.
1. No Distractions
Save the screens and toys for another time. If your child can put their full attention towards the meal at-hand, they will explore the tastes and textures of food in a more mindful manner and are less likely to over-eat. Ideally this rule should apply to everyone at the table. This means no cell phones, parents. 😉
This seems simple, but just holding conversations with your children is a great way to get them to slow down while they eat. Encourage them to put their utensils down in between bites as you chat. Family mealtime is a great opportunity to connect with your children, to talk about the day, and take a break from your never-ending to-do list.
Keep your meals times (as much as possible, we know life is crazy!) at the same times each day. Not only is this practice great for metabolism but will help to avoid pesky food-swings. Make sure your child has a designated spot at the table, and to eat all meals and snacks at the table together (again, as much as possible).
4. “Tummy Talk”
Talk with your child about how their tummy feels. Is their tummy full? Is their tummy empty? Almost full? These sorts of questions will not only help to avoid over-eating, but can help with under-eating too, so your child isn’t constantly asking for snacks throughout the day.
5. Practice What You Preach
At the end of the day, your child is learning more about eating from watching you than anything else. If you want your child to learn table manners, to eat slowly and enjoy meals, the best way to teach them is through demonstration. If mealtime is consistently a mindful practice in your home, it will soon become second nature!
Are you ready to put these tips to good use? Check out our delicious banana pancake recipe!