What Is The Concept of Mealtime Mindset and How Can You Use It?

mealtime mindset

In today’s fast-paced world, mealtime can often become a rushed or stressful part of the day, especially for families with young children. As a thought leader in pediatric feeding and family wellness, I have developed a revolutionary concept called the Mealtime Mindset. This holistic approach is designed to shift the behavior and attitudes of both children and parents towards food and mealtimes.  Mealtime Mindset encompasses a set of principles that can begin to transform mealtime from a battleground into a joyful, engaging, and nutritious experience.

Understanding the Mealtime Mindset

The Mealtime Mindset is more than just a set of rules; it’s a comprehensive philosophy that aims to create positive, lasting changes in how families approach food and mealtimes and creative positive associations with food that will last a lifetime. By focusing on goal-setting, establishing routines, engaging in meal preparation, eliminating grazing, enhancing the eating environment, addressing environmental cues, and changing our language around food, we can cultivate a more positive mealtime experience. Here’s how each principle works:

 1. Goal Writing

Setting clear, achievable goals is the first step in the Mealtime Mindset. Goals help to provide direction and motivation for both parents and children. These goals could range from putting one speck of new food on the table to trying a new vegetable each week to having a device-free dinner table. Writing these goals down and revisiting them regularly helps keep the family focused and accountable.

2. Creating Routines

Routine is crucial for children as it provides a sense of security and predictability – and we know when kids feel safe and secure they are significantly more likely to engage with food and be more willing to try it. Establishing a consistent mealtime routine can reduce anxiety and resistance. This includes having set times for meals, a consistent seating arrangement, and specific rituals that signal the beginning and end of mealtime.

3. Engaging in Meal Prep Together

Involving children in meal preparation can significantly enhance their interest in food. This can be as simple as letting them wash vegetables, stir ingredients, or set the table. When children feel involved in the creation of a meal, they are more likely to be excited about eating it.

4. Ending Grazing

Grazing, or constant snacking throughout the day, can lead to poor eating habits and decreased appetite at mealtimes. We need their mind to tell them that they are feeling hungry for the trying new foods thing to work!  Their belly can’t tell their mind they are feeling hungry is they have a constant flow of food! The Mealtime Mindset encourages structured eating times to ensure that children come to the table hungry and ready to eat a balanced meal.

5. Enhancing the Eating Environment

The environment in which we eat plays a significant role in our eating habits. A calm, pleasant eating environment  encourages mindful eating and better digestion. Soft music, a nicely set table, and engaging conversation, taking off the pressure, and the right chair, can all contribute to a more enjoyable mealtime.

6. Addressing Cues in the Immediate Environment

Children are highly influenced by their immediate environment. When kids are doing the same thing meal after meal and associate certain colors, smells, views, and even plates, with a negative experience at the table, we need to start to change the cues to positive ones! By paying attention to cues such as portion sizes, plate presentation, and SO many more, parents can subtly guide their children’s eating habits from negative triggers to positive ones. 

7. Changing Your Words and Approach

Perhaps the most powerful tool in the Mealtime Mindset is the language and approach we use around food. Positive words, changing the types of words you use around food, the language you use at the table, and avoiding pressure or bribery, and using descriptive language about food can transform a child’s attitude towards eating. 

Implementing the Mealtime Mindset

Implementing the Mealtime Mindset requires patience and consistency. It’s important to start with small, manageable changes and gradually build on them. Celebrate the small victories and remain flexible, adjusting the approach as needed to suit your family’s unique dynamics.

 

The Mealtime Mindset is a transformative approach that can turn mealtimes into a positive, enjoyable experience for both children and parents. By focusing on holistic principles such as goal setting, routine creation, meal prep engagement, ending grazing, enhancing the eating environment, addressing cues, and changing our language, we can cultivate a healthier, happier relationship with food.

As we embrace the Mealtime Mindset, we empower our children to develop lifelong healthy eating habits, and we as parents can rediscover the joy and connection that comes with shared meals. Join me in revolutionizing the way we approach mealtime, and let’s transform the act of eating into a cherished family tradition.

To learn more about these principles and take a deeper dive, you can purchase the book Mealtime Mindset today on Amazon

Be sure to check out all of our books here as well!

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