When kids grow their own veggies, they want to eat what they have grown. Even small kids can help tidy the dining area, set the table, or create a centerpiece of flowers, leaves, or fruit from the garden. When kids invest in the growing, planning, and cooking of the meal, they want to enjoy the meal peacefully and eat mindfully, without electronic devises, excited to have their family enjoy what they have done.
However, some kids come to the table complaining about their food. Whatever dish has been prepared, they start crying for something else, throwing the food, and pushing it away. They whine about the meal as they play with the toy car, driving it over the fruit platter on the table. They hit their sibling with the banana. Refusing to eat what was their favorite dish in the past, they scream for their video game until they get a phone, tablet, or computer to continue their play, while some other dish they demanded is being prepared. Some kids will only eat quietly while watching cartoons. Many families with busy schedules eat at separate times and places, while the dining room table remains cluttered with stuff.
Being thankful, polite, and kind at the dinner table is the beginning of Mindful Eating. Kids can begin the meal with a song of gratitude for the abundant harvest. They can thank the many farmers, truckers, food processors, grocers, and their folks who have worked to bring this food to the table. Kids can have a taste test, like the boy in the picture above, to try new foods and compare the salty, sweet, spicy, and sour tastes of foods. Or the taste test can be to guess the ingredients in a dish. Kids can play a game to see how many chews they can have with one bite of food. Twenty-five to thirty chews per bite helps to digest the food and get the most nutrients into their system to build healthy bodies. Kids can find peaceful music to play during a dinner where everyone eats silently. Mindful Eating is kids being peaceful and present in the moment, appreciating every mouthful, especially the delicious organic produce they have helped to grow and prepare.