How many of you ate your lunch yesterday while scrolling your phone or reading your emails? I am guilty of eating so quickly that I sometimes don’t even taste the food I am shoveling down. With kids, it gets even worse. I find myself standing up, shoving whatever I can into my mouth while doing a million different “important” things around the house. Afterwards, I feel over-full and unsatisfied.
So, how do we reclaim mealtimes?
How do we incorporate mindfulness into our meals so that we can fully enjoy them?
It’s not easy, but here are some tips you can start with to begin your journey of mindful mealtimes:
Establish a set time for meals most nights and stick to it.
Now, we know that you are busy. There are activities to get to, homework to work through, and maybe, if you are lucky, your kid has a little free time to play before going to bed and starting all over again. Life is busy. However, research shows that when children eat meals with their families, they are more likely to have physical and mental health benefits in the long run. ¹ So, make it a priority to eat at least one to two meals together each week. Put it on the family calendar. Then, stick to it.
Put the phones away.
In our family, we established a family rule that there will be no technology at the table. That means that, during mealtimes, we do not check out phones, watches, computers, or tablets. While we are sitting at the table, my daughter (who loves audio books) cannot listen to her stories. While we are at the table, we are intentional about keeping our focus on each other and the conversation. Although we aren’t perfect, this techique has helped my husband and I turn work “off” and family time “on” each day and has helped our four-year-old daughter see the importance of face-to-face conversation. I know that this is only going to get harder as my girls get older, so we set the standard now and keep to it so that it will be non-negotiable when they are older and much more consumed with technology.
Take a moment of gratitude
Whether you pray or just take a moment to sit quietly in reflection, you can practice a moment of gratitude to change the way you view mealtimes. Feel grateful for the time with your family, the food, how it was prepared, and what went into your meal being on the table today. By taking a moment of gratitude, you appreciate the food’s journey and can approach eating as something sacred vs. a requirement to get through so you can move on to the next thing.
Practice Mindful Eating
Take a look at Paige’s blogpost to learn more about mindful eating with your family.
What other things do you do to keep your mealtimes mindful?