Mindful Eating - Action for Healthy Kids (2024)

Mindful Eating

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Mindful Eating - Action for Healthy Kids (1)Mindful eating is a mindfulness practice that helps children develop a deeper connection with food and begin to create lifelong, healthy habits. It encourages children to focus on the present – noticing thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Connecting this with the food that fuels our bodies helps children to recognize feelings of hunger and fullness, slow down when eating, better digest and fully enjoy snacks or meals!

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Discover new foods. Mindful eating can be a great time to develop a deeper appreciation for food favorites while also branching out and trying something new. Leverage the produce of the season for the most nutrient dense (and tasty) treat. By using the five senses, this sensory activity supports children in making “progress towards produce” – introducing them to a variety of foods to help them develop healthy habits as they continue to grow.

Understand mindfulness. Lay the groundwork and help children understand what it means to practice mindfulness and why it is important. Mindfulness means paying full attention to something – with no distraction, staying in the moment and noticing our thoughts and how we feel (both physically and emotionally). Being mindful means taking our time and staying relaxed.

Encourage children to use the 5 senses and practice small “mindful bites”. Now that children have a general understanding about what it means to practice mindfulness, have them experience their food in a new way. Encourage children to remain present and in the moment by drawing upon their five senses to take small, intention bites.

  • See: What do you notice? What color is it? What shape is it? What stands out?
  • Feel: When you hold it in your hand, what does it feel like? Is it soft or hard? Squishy or rough?
  • Hear: Does it make any sounds? What about if you squeeze it between your fingers? (You can also revisit sound during taste)
  • Smell. How would you describe the smell?

Invite children to close their eyes as they explore taste.

  • Taste: Put the food in your mouth. Before you chew, what is the first thing you taste? Is sweet or salty? Sour or savory? As you start to chew, chew slowly and before you swallow, think about the change in flavor, texture and sounds. Does it change the longer you chew?

Explore the mind-body connection. Mindful eating is more than just a few mindful bites. Encourage children to slow down while they eat and begin to understand the mind-body connection a little bit more. All foods carry different nutrients and vitamins – designed to support our growth and keep us healthy and strong. These different compounds can influence the way we feel, including our energy levels that fuel us for the day. Invite students to dive deeper and think about where their food comes from – appreciating the process of growing that one apple or the baking of that slice of bread, the nutrients it contains and what fuels them the most to play and learn.

Social Emotional Health Highlights

Activities such as these help children explore…

Self-Awareness and Self-Management: Mindful eating is one form of practicing mindfulness. This tool can be applied to different situations throughout the day and encourages children to reflect and be more aware. Mindfulness supports the development of critical skills such as focus and concentration as well as self-regulation. Giving children an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of a given moment, helps to build resiliency and put them in tune with their own emotions.

Responsible Decision Making: Supporting children in recognizing when their bellies feel full or when hunger has queued the “low fuel” helps to prevent extremes with eating and creates a healthy, positive relationship with food and its impact on the body and mind. Mindful eating also teaches the concept of mindfulness and how it can be used as a tool to reset and refocus – enabling children to make responsible decisions in response to disruptive emotions.


Mindful eating can be practiced during snack time, lunch or at home with families. Creating a deeper connection to food can support the development of healthy habits and a positive relationship with food and nutrition.

Practice mindful eating by limiting screen time. Put phones, computers and tablets away. Turn off the television. Limiting distraction helps children stay focused and avoid eating too quickly.

Cooking and eating together is a great way to practice mindful eating. Whether at home with family or at school with classmates for a taste test or cooking class, it provides an opportunity for children to see their meal or snack come together from start to finish with their own hands.

Mindful eating slows down meal or snack time. It helps children begin to recognize when their bellies feel full or if they are “out of fuel” when running around outside. Encourage children to listen to their tummies and aim to try new things by adding more colors (and nutrients) to their plate.

For more activities and ideas like this one, be sure to sign up for our news and updates. And if you like what you see, please donate to support our work creating more ways to help build a healthier future for kids.

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Categories: , Social-Emotional Health, At Home, At School, Digital Resource

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Mindful Eating - Action for Healthy Kids (2024)


What is a mindful eating activity for kids? ›

Cooking and eating together is a great way to practice mindful eating. Whether at home with family or at school with classmates for a taste test or cooking class, it provides an opportunity for children to see their meal or snack come together from start to finish with their own hands.

What are 5 healthy eating habits for kids? ›

Healthy Eating
  • Have regular family meals.
  • Serve a variety of healthy foods and snacks.
  • Be a role model by eating healthy yourself.
  • Avoid battles over food.
  • Involve kids in the process.

What are techniques for encouraging healthy eating habits for children? ›

Tips for Families to Help Children Eat Healthy

Plan healthy meals and eat together as a family. Eating together at meal times helps children learn to enjoy a variety of foods. Buy and serve more fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned). Let your child choose them at the store.

What are the mindful eating strategies? ›

Acknowledge where the food was grown and who prepared the meal. Eat without distractions to help deepen the eating experience. Engage all senses. Notice the sounds, colors, smells, tastes, and textures of the food and how you feel when eating.

What are 3 mindful eating habits? ›

Once you feel confident in practicing the techniques, mindfulness will become more natural. Then you can focus on implementing these methods during more meals. Mindful eating takes practice. Try to eat more slowly, chew thoroughly, remove distractions, and stop eating when you're full.

What are the four steps to mindful eating? ›

Here are four simple steps to mindfully eating:
  • Sit Down!! Mindful eating is achieved when you are dedicating a specific amount of time to nourishing your body with food. ...
  • Savor. Teach yourself to take a bite and then put the food down. ...
  • Practice. ...
  • Plan and prepare.
Dec 4, 2016

What are the 7 healthy eating habits? ›

8 tips for healthy eating
  1. Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates. ...
  2. Eat lots of fruit and veg. ...
  3. Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish. ...
  4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar. ...
  5. Eat less salt: no more than 6g a day for adults. ...
  6. Get active and be a healthy weight. ...
  7. Do not get thirsty. ...
  8. Do not skip breakfast.

What are 10 good food habits? ›

So, grab your plate, and let's dive in!
  • Chew your food well. Slower eating is one of the essential healthy eating habits for children. ...
  • Eat a lot of fibre. ...
  • Drink lots of water. ...
  • Keep healthy snacks around. ...
  • Don't skip breakfast. ...
  • Include calcium-rich foods in your diet. ...
  • Avoid sugar. ...
  • Eat colorful food.

How to help a child lose weight without making them feel bad? ›

Changes are more successful when they are small, incremental and involve the entire family. Be the best example you can. Choose nutritious, whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, encourage physical activity, promote sufficient sleep, and refrain from negative talk about your or others' weight.

Which of the following is an example of mindful eating? ›

An example of mindful eating is planning a day of healthy meals and snacks. Mindful eating involves being aware of what you eat, why you eat, and how you eat.

What are the barriers to mindful eating? ›

These are the big five barriers:
  • Sensual desire. The experience of being absorbed in satisfaction (sight, sound, smell, etc.). ...
  • Aversion. Aversion is the opposite of sensual desire. ...
  • Boredom. Dullness of the mind, sluggishness, lethargy. ...
  • Restlessness. ...
  • Doubt.
Mar 13, 2024

What is the mindful eating grounding exercise? ›

Bring the food to your mouth, noticing when it crosses your lips. When you bite down, is there a splash of flavour? How does it feel when you begin to swallow? Continue eating in this way, giving yourself full permission to enjoy the experience of eating, as if this were your very last meal.

What is the intuitive eating program for kids? ›

Intuitive eating for children may help create or reinforce a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. It involves eating according to physical cues, savoring food, and avoiding restrictions or judgment. Modeling intuitive eating can help teach this approach to a child.

What is the meaning of mindful activities? ›

Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you're sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress.

What should you be mindful of when preparing food and drinks for children? ›

Wash fruits and vegetables in running water before cutting and serving. Prepare raw meat in a way that it cannot contaminate other foods. Use separate chopping boards and utensils for meats and other foods. Cover foods prepared in advance with cling wrap or keep them in lidded containers.

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