Mindful Eating for Kids | Kids Share Meal on Ahimsa Dishware

Mindful Eating for Kids: Building Healthy Habits from a Young Age

By Dr. Manasa Mantravadi



Time to Read: 8 min

It's easy for mealtimes to become rushed and mindless, even for our little ones. But did you know that establishing healthy eating habits in childhood can set the stage for a lifetime of well-being? One powerful tool for nurturing a positive relationship with food is mindful eating. This practice involves paying full attention to the experience of eating. This simple habit gives us a deeper connection with our bodies and the nourishment we provide them.

Mindful eating offers a wealth of benefits for children, from improved digestion and weight management to a healthier relationship with food. While it may seem challenging to introduce this concept to young children, don’t worry! With a little guidance and patience, you can empower your kids to become mindful eaters and build a foundation for a lifetime of healthy choices.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

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What is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating involves a conscious awareness of the entire eating experience. It involves engaging all of your senses and being fully present in the moment. As grown ups, we have probably experienced someone eating sugar because they’re sad and need to cheer up, or overeating because they had a stressful day, etc. These modern eating habits often involve distractions and emotional triggers, but mindful eating encourages a deeper connection with food and our bodies. 

At its core, mindful eating is about paying attention to hunger cues, savoring flavors, and eating without distractions. It means noticing the colors, textures, and aromas of our food, appreciating each bite, and recognizing when we're full. This approach to eating can help children develop a healthier relationship with food, one that is not based on external cues or emotional states. 

For children, mindful eating can offer a multitude of benefits. It can improve digestion by promoting slower eating and thorough chewing. It can aid in weight management by helping children recognize their body's natural hunger and fullness signals. Most importantly, it can foster a positive and intuitive relationship with food.

Practical Tips for Promoting Mindful Eating in Children

Creating a calm and inviting eating environment sets the stage for mindful eating. Turn off the television, put away the iPads, and choose a quiet, comfortable space for meals. Encourage conversation and connection during mealtime.

Involving children in meal planning and preparation can spark their interest in food and encourage them to try new things. Let them help choose recipes, shop for ingredients, and assist with age-appropriate tasks in the kitchen. This hands-on experience can make mealtime more exciting and meaningful.

Encourage your children to eat slowly and savor each bite. Remind them to put their utensils down between bites, chew thoroughly, and truly experience the flavors and textures of their food. This practice not only aids digestion but also helps children develop a deeper appreciation for the nourishment they receive.

Limit distractions during mealtime. This means no screens, toys, or other activities that divert attention away from the act of eating. By focusing solely on the food and the company of loved ones, children can fully engage with their meals and develop a more mindful approach to eating.

Teach children to recognize their body's natural hunger and fullness cues. Explain the difference between physical hunger and emotional cravings, and encourage them to eat when they're truly hungry and stop when they're comfortably full. This can help prevent overeating and create a healthier relationship with food.

Mindful Eating for Kids | Family Eating from Ahimsa Dishware

Offer a Variety of Healthy Food Options

A mix of colors and textures on the plate can make mealtime more appealing to children. Include a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Encourage your children to explore different flavors and feelings, and make mealtime a fun and adventurous experience. If you’re ever at a loss for what foods to prepare for your kids, the Ahimsa Meal Guides are a great resource for kids of all ages. Our Mindful Mealtime Set is a stainless steel place setting for kids 12 months and up that has all the tools you need to easily measure age-appropriate serving sizes.

Model Mindful Eating Behaviors Yourself

Children learn by observing their parents and caregivers. Demonstrate mindful eating practices yourself by eating slowly, savoring each bite, and paying attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Talk about your own experiences with mindful eating and explain how it makes you feel. Be an inspiration!

Mealtime Essentials

Make Mealtime Fun and Engaging

Mealtime should not be a battleground. Instead, create a positive and enjoyable atmosphere where children feel comfortable exploring new foods and trying different flavors. Engage them in conversation, tell stories, and make mealtime a time for connection and laughter. Save the hard conversations or uncomfortable topics for a family meeting away from the dinner table.

Games and activities into mealtime can also make it more enjoyable for children. For example, you could have them guess the ingredients in a dish, create a rainbow of colors on their plate, or even make up a song about their favorite food. We play table topics at dinnertime, which really helps to involve the whole family in the conversation. We talk about high points, low points, and even random acts of kindness. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. By making mealtime fun and interactive, you can help children develop a positive association with food and eating .

Addressing Common Challenges

Picky eating is a common concern for parents. Mindful eating can help address this issue by encouraging children to explore new foods with curiosity and openness. By focusing on the sensory experience of eating, children may be more willing to try different flavors and textures. A tool that I use with my kids is to put these snack bowls out at snack time. I’ll fill two bowls with some of their favorite and familiar foods. In the other two bowls, I’ll put in new foods to try. While we snack, I talk about how the new foods taste, smell, and feel. By exposing my kids to new foods in a positive environment, I’ve seen great progress with my picky eaters. 

Overeating can be a challenge for some children, but mindful eating can help them become more aware of their body's signals of fullness. By slowing down and paying attention to how their bodies feel, children can learn to stop eating when they're comfortably full, preventing overeating and promoting healthy portion control.

Emotional eating can be triggered by stress, boredom, or other emotions. Mindful eating can help children identify these triggers and develop alternative coping mechanisms. By focusing on the present moment and the sensations of eating, children can learn to manage their emotions without turning to food for comfort.


Mindful eating offers a path to a healthier, more balanced relationship with food for your children. By introducing these practices early on, you are providing them with valuable tools that can benefit them throughout their lives. Remember, cultivating mindful eating habits takes time and patience. Celebrate small victories, embrace the journey, and watch as your children develop a lifelong love for nourishing their bodies with awareness and joy.

To support you on this journey, consider exploring Ahimsa's range of safe and durable stainless steel dishware, designed to make mealtime a more mindful and enjoyable experience for the whole family.

Shop Ahimsa today for dishes and plates that will make your meal times fun (and sustainable!).

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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