Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 5:47 pm | Fair 72º

 
 
 
 
Nutrition

Collin McShirley: 6 Mindful Eating Habits to Pass on to Your Kids

The summer months are a great time to teach your children healthy eating habits that they’ll hold onto for life. Click to view larger
The summer months are a great time to teach your children healthy eating habits that they’ll hold onto for life.  (Collin McShirley photo)

You want your children to eat healthy meals — to drink milk and eat more fruits and vegetables, less candy and no soda. You want them to have a healthy relationship with food with no fear of new foods or obsessions with habitual ones.

When school lets out, we spend a lot more time with the wee ones and eat more meals together, making summer a perfect opportunity to teach your children about healthy eating.

In an attempt to instill good eating habits, parents often define “healthy” and draft a checklist of foods that fit the bill. Then come the food rules: no sugar, no candy, no preservatives — and the list can go on and on.

Before parents realize it, they take the joy out of eating, especially healthy foods.

Teaching your child to eat healthy and mindfully can start as early as toddlerhood.

I suggest mindful eating techniques to help the child self-select healthier foods. Set your child up for success by practicing these strategies.

Trust the Taste Buds

While mindfulness seems like a new health trend, your child was born a pro. Infants and toddlers are connected to their senses; they look, feel, smell and taste their food before they eat.

Accept that each person is different and unique, including your child. There’s no right or wrong way of eating, instead, there are a variety experiences.

Talk About Food

During toddlerhood, little ones learn colors, shapes and textures, making food the perfect teaching tool.

During conversations with your tot, discuss what makes food healthy. Teach them to think of a healthy food as something that will help them grow, become strong, play more or run faster.

Let Your Little One Choose the Menu

Take your child grocery shopping and encourage her to select produce she wants to try.

Make a habit of trying one different food, as a family, once a week.

Make Snack Time Memorable

I work with a lot of children, so when I run workshops I make sure to have healthy snacks on hand. I order a Healthy Snacks GrubBox from GrubMarket — it’s a convenient and cost-effective way to commit to healthy eating!

All the items are organic and selected to fit seasonality from local farms, so the healthy snacks keep cravings at bay and provide good protein and fiber to keep your children healthy. Plus, your children will love the surprise of discovering what’s inside each unique box.

Juliana Fitzpatrick, GrubMarket’s director of business development, got me started on the subscription box practice. We grew up together and shared many a snack as little ones.

Click here if you want to try out the subscription service and enter the code MindfulMaiden20 for a discount.

Dedicate Time for Dinner

While it’s tempting to turn on the TV or give your child the iPad while they’re eating, try to avoid doing so.

One of the principles of mindful eating is to direct all awareness to the eating experience.

One way to keep your children attuned to healthy habits is to give them the utensils and let them eat on their own.

Eat meals together as a family is another great method, so make it a daily goal.

Be a Mindful Role Model

Children who fear trying new foods have mothers who do, too, and children who are picky with vegetables have mothers who don’t vary their vegetable intake.

Your actions matter, so be aware of how you think of or label foods.

Collin McShirley, MA, IMF, is certified and specializes in mindful eating, emotional eating, body image and self esteem; she provides coaching services in Santa Barbara, Montecito and Goleta; and she developed the program, “Break Free From Emotional Eating and Learn to Love Your Body.” She grew up in Santa Barbara​, graduated from UC Santa Barbara and received her masters in clinical psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara. Click here for more information, contact her at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter: @CollinMFTI. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >

Meet Your Realtor Sponsored by Village Properties

Photo of Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
Gary Welterlen and Carla Reeves
"We both love this business. We strive to make life long relationships from each real estate transaction."

Full Profile >