Helping little ones eat Better and Healthier - Simple practices for mealtimes with toddlers
Focusing on how we eat is just as important as what we eat. Simple and small, but consistent practices forge deep habits that children carry with them into adulthood.
The practices we followed as children of gathering around the table to eat, still holds true today. But demanding schedules and beeping gadgets form greater obstacles in the simple act of dining that we took for granted as children.
At InBloom, mealtimes are a time of simple yet great joy; a time for us to focus on ourselves, reflect within, acknowledge the people, animals and the life forces that have come together in harmony to produce this plate of food presented before us.
Here are some effective practices for mealtimes with children that we follow at InBloom that you could try at home.
Set a specific snack and mealtime. Regular mealtimes help the child's digestive system know when it is time to eat a meal.
Encourage children to help set the table. Remind them that the table should be clutter-free. No toys, books, pencils, games or gadgets of any sort.
Try to use your hands while eating as it's part of our tradition; foods taste better and it helps improve fine motor coordination.
Eat Together, even if it’s one meal time. Gathering around the table to eat creates a sense of community and togetherness; whether it is with your family or at school with classmates and teachers.
Make a genuine effort as a family to eat quietly together (no screens) and maybe even prepare a part of the meal together. Lesser distractions help little children to focus on the colours, textures, and tastes of the foods we eat together.
Talk less, eat more, stay relaxed. We don't need to multitask while eating. As per Ayurveda, a relaxed mind and body is better for digestion.
Practice a simple ritual of giving thanks for the food that we eat. . Any ritual whether it is a small prayer, an act of closing one's eyes and holding hands or lighting a candle sets a mood of calm and gives children and us time to collect ourselves for the important act of eating.
Encourage children to help clear the table when you have finished with the meal.
Whatever simple acts you choose, bringing your family for a quiet time of togetherness over a meal can nourish the minds and souls of the members individually and collectively.