Mindfulness is an important concept to teach kids. One of the best ways to teach them mindfulness is through eating! In this blog, I’m sharing my complete guide to practicing mindful eating for kids of all ages and fun mindful eating activities to utilize.
If you want to teach kids mindfulness, mindful eating is a great and easy place to start! Whether they are picky eaters, or they are the child who says “I don’t want that” when dinner is served, mindful eating is a greatly beneficial practice for all kids to partake in.
Mindful eating helps kids with becoming aware of what they are putting into their bodies and to be more appreciative of the food they are given.
But mindfully eating is not something that kids do naturally. They are used to going through things quickly to the next “fun thing.” They want to scarf down their snack and go play, right?
Read on! I wrote this blog to share the best ways for kids to practice mindful eating and how to make mindful eating “the norm” in your household!
Benefits Of Mindful Eating For Kids
- Mindful eating teaches kids to be aware of how bad foods make them feel and helps them embrace healthier habits like eating all their veggies at the dinner table, choosing healthier snacks, etc.
- Mindful eating cultivates their tastebuds! Making them less drawn towards synthetic sweeteners and artificial flavors found in junk food, sugary sodas, and candies. They’ll be naturally drawn to eat healthier, raw sugars and protein-rich foods.
- Mindful eating improves kid’s physical and mental wellbeing. This means they will have more energy to play and work hard in school.
- Mindful eating also teaches them to notice the difference between being hungry and eating for stimulation. This will allow them to notice when they truly need food vs when they are eating out of boredom
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How To Practice Mindful Eating With Kids
So how do you practice mindful eating with kids? If you tell your child “try eating with mindfulness” they are surely not going to understand what you want them to do nor will they want to. For kids to practice mindful eating, you’re going to need some clear direction. Here are the three best mindful eating practices you should utilize.
Top 3 Mindful Eating Exercises For Kids
1. Process Visualization
This is a great mini-meditation practice to do with your kids either right before their meal or as a separate mindfulness practice of its own using a snack.
Whether they’re using a snack or they have a meal with them, have them sit comfortably with it beside them and give them prompts to picture the process it took to get from farm to table. This practice will teach kids to be aware of the process it took for their food to get to them and have more appreciation for the effort that went into its creation.
Use the prompts below:
- What’s one ingredient in your snack/meal? What did it have to go through to get to you?
- If it is a plant or wheat, picture it being planted, growing, & being harvested.
- If it is meat, picture it growing and being fed.
- Are there a lot of ingredients in your meal/snack? Picture those ingredients growing and being harvested.
- Imagine it being shipped to the grocery store and shelved.
- Now visualize your parents now going to the store and buying it.
- Once you’ve pictured the whole process, send gratitude to the food and everything else that was needed to bring this meal/snack to you.
2. Hot Cocoa/Tea Meditation
This is the best mindful eating practice to utilize out of them all. Meditation is the best thing we can get kids to do and a hot cocoa meditation is a great way to practice mindful eating and meditation at once (kill two birds with one stone, am I right?).
Make hot chocolate for you and your kiddos, find a comfortable seat on the floor, and set a timer for 15 minutes. As you all sit with eyes closed, give them prompts to practice awareness of the taste, smells, and warmth of the hot cocoa.
I made a guided meditation just for this practice that you can get using the link here or by voting on the poll below! You’ll also get a bonus printable copy of all the prompts so you can do the meditation on your own!
Which drink is better to meditate with?
3. Eat The Rainbow
An easy way for kids to practice mindful eating is to challenge them to eat every color of the rainbow in one day. Eating the rainbow is very important to get all of our necessary nutrients.
By challenging them to do this, you are giving them an awareness of what they aren’t eating and how they don’t feel as good without those colors. Of course, make sure they don’t try to use it as an excuse to eat rainbow candies.
They have to eat a healthy choice for 6 out of 7 of the colors. Have them log or show you each food they ate. You also want to encourage them to notice how each food makes them feel!
Want To Be Mindful With Your Kids?
Click here to get The Experts Guide To Mindfulness Activities with creative mindfulness exercises for kids, adults, and families!
Ask these questions:
- How does this food make you feel?
- Does it give you the energy that lasts you a while? Or does it make your head belly hurt, give you a sugar high, etc.
- Did you notice a difference in your overall mood throughout the day because you ate differently?
How To Make Mindful Eating The Normal Way Of Eating For Kids
These three practices are perfect for making mindful eating fun for kids. But the goal is also to make mindful eating a normal in their life. This doesn’t mean you have to give them prompts every time they have a snack. Here are the best ways to cultivate mindful eating habits in your kids.
- Create a morning or evening ritual: What does your child’s morning routine look like? Do they have hot cocoa or a cup of tea for breakfast? Do they eat a whole meal or a snack? Whatever it is, help them create a daily sacred time they eat/drink. Limit distractions, to-do lists, and homework. Make it normal for them to spend one time every day just enjoying their food. It is incredibly good for their health!
- You need to practice mindful eating too: Mindfulness is for everyone and kids are ALWAYS following the parent’s example whether we realize it or not. If we want kids to eat mindfully, parents have to eat mindfully too. That includes no phones, computers, TV, books, magazines, or work at the table for at least 2 out of 3 meals.
- Have them contribute to meals: Make sure kids are helping with preparing meals in the kitchen! And allowing them to contribute a little to what meals are going to be made is extremely beneficial. Doing this will cause two things to happen. 1. They’ll realize the work that has to go into making meals which will make them more grateful for their food! And 2. By getting them involved in deciding meals, they feel a sense of freedom of choice and this is especially important in mindfulness.
Remember that the reason we practice mindfulness is to help us live a happier, healthier life. If mindful eating ever starts to feel like an “obligation,” that means it’s time to take a step back and reflect on why.
20 Days Of Mindfulness For Kids
Click here to get 20 days unique mindfulness lessons to do with your kids!
I hope that the practices in this blog become a part of you and your child’s mindfulness practice!
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