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Mindfulness Activity: Mindful Eating

"Eat with intention, taste with awareness. Mindful eating is a path to a healthier, more harmonious relationship with food and oneself."

As discussed before, mindfulness is being present 'IN' the moment. We can practise mindfulness in different ways at different times. We can be mindful of eating our meals or even taking a walk in the garden. We can practise it in the shower or participate in any art form. It is about being aware of ourselves, our thoughts, and our feelings and mindfully being involved in our activity.


So, we will look into a simple mindful eating activity and how it can change our outlook towards eating our daily meals.


Mindful Eating


Mindful Eating means being aware of our surroundings and paying attention to what's on our plate. It is not just eating slowly but eating using all our senses.


We need to encourage everyone, especially children, not just to slow down while they eat but to realise that if we feel full, save it for later. It is possible only when we eat our meals using all our senses.


In Mindful Eating, we pay attention to the smell, taste, and texture while we eat our food. It helps us develop healthy eating habits. "Mindful eating is a way to become reacquainted with the guidance of our internal nutritionist." [1].


To begin with, we can incorporate some simple healthy eating habits into our daily routine:


  • Sit down and eat.

  • Always take smaller bites and chew well.

  • Never eat directly from a package.

  • Always keep gadgets away while eating a meal.

Mindful Eating Activity


Skill Neurons -Mindful ME card game - mindful eating activity
Mindful ME - Mindfulness card game

Let's try this fun activity to help us all understand the importance of Mindful Eating. Try this with your children and get them to experience the difference for themselves by eating mindfully.


What we need:


  • A calm & comfortable place to do this activity.

  • Two small pieces of chocolates. P.S.: If you do not like chocolate - take anything small to eat but two separate pieces.

  • You can do this activity alone or as a group.




What to do:


  1. Take a small piece of chocolate to eat. Relish it as you always do.

  2. Now, take one more piece of chocolate. But this time, follow the instructions given below as you eat:

    1. Hold the piece of chocolate in your hand and see how it looks.

    2. Now, feel the texture of the chocolate. How does it feel to touch?

    3. Bring the chocolate to your nose and smell it. How does it smell?

    4. Slowly bite the chocolate and allow it to melt in your mouth.

    5. Close your eyes and experience how the chocolate feels in your mouth.

    6. Can you experience the different tastes on your tongue?

    7. Do you hear any sounds as you bite through the chocolate?

  3. Once you have finished eating the second chocolate, using all your senses, describe the unique experience. You can either write, draw, or express yourself verbally.

Reflection:

  • Do you think you enjoyed the taste of the chocolate more when you paid attention to eating it with all your senses?

  • Was the feeling different from the way you ate before?

  • Did eating this chocolate bring back any memories?

Usage:


Mindful Eating helps reduce overeating and aids digestion. It is also a fine way to introduce new food to children and get them to try various tastes. It helps us be present IN the moment and break out of auto-pilot mode.


Pro-Tip:


Practice it with your other favourite food. Daily, try to eat at least one meal using all your senses. It helps us develop a positive relationship with our food. Discuss with your family where our food comes from and how eating different vegetables and fruits provides vital nutrients to our bodies. Tell children how food enables them to stay strong and healthy.


Fun fact:


Did you know the connection between the parent and the infant is the beginning of awareness for the baby?


Tools:


If you enjoy this exercise, check out more such mindfulness activities in our Mindful ME cards.


References:

  1. Words by Jan Chozen (Zen teacher, author, mindful eating educator, and paediatrician).




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