Eat With Intention & Love: Family Meals Can Help Children Eat Better! Day 3: Eat with Intention & Love

Eat With Intention & Love: Family Meals Can Help Children Eat Better!

We know how tough it can be to get the family together for one meal. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a cozy family of 3 or a larger family with doting grandparents and relatives!

Let’s start with what we mean by a “family meal.” It’s that joyous, slightly chaotic (!) time where your little one gets to sit with the rest of your family as you enjoy a meal together. Family meals enable you to share beautiful bonds and create new memories.

Family meals are also the ideal setting to eat with intention. When you eat with intention, you’re fully present in the moment, conscious of the food on your plate and the loved ones around you. When you eat mindfully, you savor the subtlest of flavors, textures, and aromas! You’re mindful of the act of eating itself, and you’re not distracted or mentally absent.

Why Are Family Meals Important?

Family meals are the perfect setting for you and your family to spend mindful moments bonding over food and sharing your day’s updates.

What’s more, it’s the best time for you to bond intentionally with your baby. Let’s looks at more reasons why eating together as a family is important

  • Eating together helps kids grow up to be wholesome, healthy eaters.
  • Research shows that having structured meal times and family meals are associated with more enjoyment of food, better nutrition intake, and less fussiness. When little ones see their family members eating different foods, they will follow suit. By prioritizing eating together (without devices), you’re laying the foundation for healthy habits for your child.

  • Eating together offers more scope for learning opportunities.
  • Babies have mirror neurons, so they tend to copy or imitate whatever the parent is doing. Sit across your baby and let them observe and mirror your actions!

  • Eating together helps improve communication.
  • After spending the day separately, having dinner with your family is a good way to end the day. Sharing meals as a family can help improve communication and strengthen bonds among family members.

    Tips for Making Family Meals a Regular Thing

    (Note: Some of the below tips may not apply for your child at this age, but will definitely help when they’re a bit older and are eating regular food that the family is eating.)

    1) Plan ahead

    Set aside some time each week or weekend (if you’re a working parent) to plan meals. If you can, get kids involved in choosing the menu for the week and assign small tasks like peeling, washing, or prepping (depending on how old your child is; safety is of utmost importance!). This will make them understand the value of humility and teamwork.

    2) Keep it simple

    You don't need to whip up MasterChef-level meals, and nobody expects you to either — especially if you don’t have help or are a single parent. Focus on simple, nutritious dishes that are easy to prepare.

    There are many easy recipes on YouTube that don’t require exotic or expensive ingredients. Search and you’ll literally find 10 cool recipes for different types of dal!

    3) No gadgets

    This is the most important rule. Everyone, including the adults, have to keep digital distractions at bay. Kids will learn to focus on each other and the food on the table.

    4) Practice gratitude

    Help children become aware of how their plate of food is created. Explain in a simple way about soil, farmers, animals, and plants, and the people responsible for bringing our food to us. Giving thanks to our food and everyone involved in the process is a great way to instill humility and self-awareness in children.

    The above tips can be easily adapted to your daily cooking and eating habits. Remember, family meals are a great way to help children see the importance of family time and mindful eating.