Battling Childhood Obesity with Mindful Eating

September 12th, 2016 by Live Well Omaha Kids

During Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Live Well Omaha Kids is spotlighting various organizations and programs which promote physical activity and healthy eating to youth. Today, Kwin Kunkle of Well Beings shares with us the power of mindful eating. 

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food-tomatoFinding a fresh approach to addressing childhood obesity can be challenging, but mindful eating can make food exciting! Yep, even vegetables! Mindful eating is a great practice to share with the whole family. Often times, families are busy and rushing through meals, which can lead to over eating and stuffed bellies. Kids especially benefit and enjoy using their sense to discover what they’re eating! Introducing children to mindful eating encourages them to notice what makes their food so special.

Take out a snack or sit down for dinner! This five senses based mindful eating exercise is perfect for the whole family!

  • Sight- Use your eyes, start by really looking at what you’re about to eat! Ask kids to describe what it looks like- colors, shapes, textures. Try to avoid adjectives of judgment!
  • Smell- Using your nose actually changes what food tastes like too! Don’t be in a hurry to take the first bite, use your sniffer first! Does it smell sweet? Spicy?
  • Touch- If this meal involves an appropriate finger food like carrots or apples, take the time to describe what it feels like. Is it cold or warm? Smooth or bumpy? Soft or hard?
  • Sound- Yep! That’s right, listen to your food! Most foods won’t sound like much until you start chewing, but it’s always fun to test it out!
  • Taste- Okay, your tummy is probably rumbling! Now you get to taste the food! Take a bite very slowly and notice your mouth watering. Notice what the food tastes like in different parts of your mouth. Try not to swallow just yet! What do you notice when you move the food around in your mouth? Use all your teeth to chew and all sides of your tongue to taste it. Come back to sound- does it crunch? Is quiet or loud? What does it feel like as you chew? Warm or cold? Soft or crisp? Can you try it with your eyes closed?

When you’re ready to swallow that first bite, close your eyes and feel the food go down your throat. Has your belly stopped rumbling? As a family, talk about your experiences. Did you have any feelings or thoughts related to eating this way? Take a few more bites like this, or maybe even finish the whole meal this way. Remember to drink water as you eat! Taking time eat slowly and focus on food helps you feel fuller and can prevent overeating.

You can use mindfulness whenever you eat or drink! By slowing down when eating and being curious, even using all of the senses, any food can really be amazing- even foods that aren’t your favorite. Try mindful eating at your next meal!

For more information on teaching childhood wellness and encouraging healthy choices, visit Well Beings at!

Kwin Kunkle, M.Ed., RYT200, RCYT

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kwinkunklephotoKwin Kunkle is the author and founder of Well Beings: Building Blocks for Childhood Wellness. She started her teaching career in 2007 in Omaha Public Schools. Throughout her career in public education, Kwin noticed that many students needed extra support in personal health and wellness as well as social emotional learning skills. She earned her M. Ed. in 2011, a RCYT in 2013 and RYT200 in 2014.  She also studied Mindfulness Fundamentals and Curriculum Training with Mindful Schools. Her varied educational experiences really transformed her teaching, and after dedicating time to focus on her own personal wellness, it became a second passion for her to bring those ideas and values to her classroom. Kwin has taught classes and professional development workshops at many schools and community organizations throughout the Omaha area.  For more information about Well Beings and her offerings, please visit


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