Health

Healthy and Mindful Eating for Children

The purposeful concentration on thoughts, feelings, and sensations in the present is known as mindfulness. When you eat mindfully, you pay attention to the food’s aroma, appearance, flavour, and even how it makes you feel physically. When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you’re more likely to feel full. Additionally, you’re more likely to feel full before being overstuffed. Distracted eating, which can begin as early as in the high chair, is eating while the TV is on, toys are present at the table, or other forms of distraction are being used

To keep your infant occupied as they sit through the meal, you can provide toys or utensils. Once you offer complimentary foods, grazing becomes fairly typical because young toddlers may be slow eaters and take a while to finish their meals. Toddlers play and move around while they eat their meals and snacks. All of this is completely typical for young children. However, as children age, distracted eating may develop into a bad habit that ultimately harms their health and happiness.

Why Is Mindful Eating Important for Kids?

Positive coping mechanisms aid children in succeeding socially and intellectually by teaching them to concentrate, unwind, and become aware of how their emotions affect their bodies, especially in busy and stressful scenarios. Recent research has discovered a link between mindful eating and healthy results.

Awareness of Appetite through Mindfulness

A non-judgmental awareness of your body’s hunger and food preferences is what is meant by mindful eating. It educates children to eat with purpose and to be conscious of their hunger. According to studies, eating mindfully is linked to weight maintenance or lower body fat. I do not advocate limiting a child’s food consumption as a specialist in paediatric nutrition. Instead, teaching kids to eat mindfully is a healthier method to teach them to recognize when they are hungry and full.

Eating with awareness and selecting wholesome foods

Many parents might be worried that allowing children to savour their meals could result in overeating. It seems that the contrary is true. Kids are more likely to feel satiated when they are aware of the sensory delights of food (texture and tastiness!). According to studies, enjoying food encourages healthy eating habits such as sensible portion sizes, wholesome food selections, and even a greater preference for items that are good for you.

Emotional eating is reduced by mindfulness.

Some children turn to food as a coping mechanism for strong emotions or a demanding and chaotic environment. Children who use mindfulness techniques learn to recognize the physical effects of their emotions and develop coping mechanisms that avoid using food as a numbing agent. Exercise in mindfulness can lower stress. According to one study, stress-eating that is unrelated to hunger is reduced by mindful eating.

What Do Mindful Eating Methods Entail?

Sensory training.

Tell your child to take notice of how the food looks, feels, and smells. Are they able to describe the flavour, aroma, and appearance? Observe how they feel after eating.

Eat gradually.

To encourage kids to chew more, play counting activities. Compared to firmer foods like fruit and vegetables, softer foods require fewer chews. But encouraging children to chew their food more teaches them to eat slower.

Go on a break.

For busy families, it might be difficult to maintain attention throughout the entire dinner. One remedy is to take a brief break and return your attention to the food and physical feelings in your body.

Eliminate all commotion.

Create a pleasant dining atmosphere by eating at the table, turning off the television, and prohibiting cell phones there.

Yoga.

Kids’ yoga is becoming more and more well-liked. It helps you focus on the present moment, reduce tension, and become more aware of your body’s messages. In one study, it was discovered that yoga encouraged young adults to eat healthily, including making better food choices, eating slowly, and avoiding emotional eating.

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