Thursday Tips: Food Play Teaches Mindfulness

cookiesMindfulness is being in the present moment, noticing, welcoming and accepting what is there without judgement. It’s this last part that gets most of us. Even when we tune into our breath, notice our surroundings and feel we are truly present, there’s usually something we want to change about the present moment. Or we’re judging ourselves for the fact that we want to change something at all or that we haven’t already.

Food play is a great way to teach kids to be present with food. It gives them opportunities to interact with food where they’re not expected to eat and it’s ok if they don’t. They can explore their limits at their own pace.

Food play is also a great time to practice putting our judgement aside. We may wish a child would JUST. TAKE. A. BITE!!! But if they’re not there yet, they’re not. And during food play it’s ok because there’s no caloric or nutritional agenda. It’s a good time to notice the judgements that come up around eating that we don’t even realize we say to ourselves over and over.

Are you wishing with every fiber of your being that your child would just take a bite? Are you judging yourself for not doing more or not doing the right thing or making some decision that you feel led to eating issues?

See if you can notice those judgments, then put them aside for half an hour and just explore and play with food.

When a child is present with food they can start to learn about it and begin to foster feelings of safety, interest and curiosity about food. When you’re present with your child while they’re exploring food you may notice different things than you normally do when you’re worried about how many bites they’ve taken.

How do they touch food–do they touch tentatively with one finger or mush their whole hand in? Do they smell it or turn their head away like they’re trying not to smell it with every fiber of their being? Do they bring it to their mouth to almost taste it, then remember they’re not sure about it and put it down?

Noticing is powerful. Noticing without judgment is mindfulness.

Today’s activity is just to pick an activity (there are lots to choose from in the Activities pull-down menu on the right) and see what you notice.

Happy food play!

Also, big thanks to Larice from Feeding Your Beauty for her Soft and Chewy Coconut-Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies (a.k.a. Pantry Cookies) – vegan and gluten-free recipe which made today’s picture possible 🙂





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