STL Moms- Mindful eating habits for children

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI)- March is National Nutrition Month, and this year's theme is "savor the flavor of eating right."

Licensed dietitian Jen McDaniel is here at Fox 2 with tips on how you and your children can eat mindfully.

When kids or adults practice mindful eating, they are more likely to eat the right amount of food, enjoy food more and engage in less emotional eating.

McDaniel's mindful eating tips:

1. It all begins with you - take a look at your own eating habits. We know that every meal won't happen at the kitchen table, and there will be some meals on wheels, but when we can, we should try to slow down, sit down and eat off a plate. Savoring our foods for just a few seconds more will result in pushing away from the plate feeling emotionally and physically satisfied.

2. Secondly, power down at mealtime. Turn off the TV`s and phones. Even text alerts and notifications can be just the small distraction to the flow of mealtime conversation. Leave the technology in another room.

3. Teach your children how to talk about food. We try to avoid words like yucky or gross to describe words. If my 4 year old tells me something is yucky, I ask him why - is it too sour, or crunchy or tough? Encouraging children to really describe their food helps them tune into their senses and be mindful.

4. Let them decide how much to eat. So as parents we are in charge of what a child might eat, but they should always be in charge of how much. I do encourage my children to be adventurous eaters and try at least one bite, but beyond that, forcing a child to eat sets them up for losing touch with their own personal fullness factor.
Try it home, think about small ways you can "savor" more - you might be surprised that small mealtime efforts make a big difference in the enjoyment of eating.