Mindful Eating as a Family

Family dinner has far reaching effects, as we’ve shared here, but you can take these benefits even further by practicing mindful eating with your family.

The word mindful means to be conscious or aware of something. A mind full of things to do, is not the same as being mindful. When you sit down to eat with your family, is your mind full or are you being mindful of what is happening around you?

Being aware of the food we eat and the tastes we enjoy helps us to stay in tune with our hunger and fullness cues. As children, we are all born with a strong intuition around knowing when we are hungry and when we are full. As we get older, we begin to eat for a variety of different reasons and lose that important connection to our body. The more focus we give the act of eating, the more likely we are to eat to our appetite.

Being mindful of the people with whom you share meals creates an opportunity for communication, interaction and engagement.  When possible, take time to come together as a family for meals. It does not need to be dinner specifically….it could also be breakfast or lunch. Schedule family meals into your calendar. This gives all of you the chance to check in with each other and nourish each other’s day.

Unplug for mealtimes. Encourage your family to leave phones and other electronic devices away from the table. Distractions interfere with our senses during meals as well as our ability to communicate with each other. Show one another the respect of your attention.  This can be empowering for you and your family member.

Practicing mindful eating with your family is a form of gratitude. It allows you to enjoy the people with whom you share your meal, appreciate the nourishing food on your plate and to take a moment out of your busy day to breathe and slow down.

 

By Allison Easton, Registered Dietitian (Nutritionist)