Mindful eating is a concept based on Buddhist teachings that encourages people to eat slowly, paying close attention to the sensation and purpose of each morsel. You spend some time learning to use new tools, read books, or check out free resources online to help you eat more mindfully. Check out the article, Mindful Eating as Way to Fight Bingeing - NYTimes.com. For parents who don't like ideas that come from other faiths, instead of "mindful eating," you can use the neutral term, "food literacy." The goals of both include learning more about what foods are healthier. And you share community food education.
Sacramento's theme this year's National Nutrition Month is Food Literacy. Check out the site, California Food Literacy: Home. The Mission of the California Food Literacy Center is to inspire change today for a healthy, sustainable tomorrow through enduring community food education. Nutrition month is devoted to promoting healthier, super food-type produce by reading about it, writing, or presenting little skits and mini-plays.
Mindful eating is about more than having food cravings on your mind all the time. Some kids love to walk in a parade or dance on a stage dressed as a vegetable or fruit. Others design and make costumes of vegetables and talk about food literacy as healthier food choices. They learn about calories, portion size, and how to battle obesity, if it's an issue.
The month of March focusing on dressing children up as vegetables, fruits, or berries, in various costumes resembling a healthy, fresh, hopefully organic vegetable or fruit, not a fried potato or deep-fried vegetables of any type, vegetables and fruits not every Sacramento kid's family may be able to afford in real life. But just before spring, comes the time for sharing food literacy and reading books, writing themes, and sharing information about healthier foods.
Check out the March 7, 2013 Sacramento Bee article, by Cynthia H. Craft, "Food literacy for Sacramento kids and adults is her goal." If you like to talk to kids about healthier foods, also check out the video, Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Lappé - YouTube. Or read the book, Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of your fork and what you can do about it - Amazon.com.
The Sacramento Bee article focused on a woman who inspires the 125 grade school kids to whom she teaches food literacy on Wednesdays in a pilot program at Oak Park's Capitol Heights Academy in Sacramento, CA, a charter school. Check out that article. Also, you may want to explore the website of the locally based nonprofit California Food Literacy Center that focuses on inspiring change today for a healthy, sustainable tomorrow through enduring community food education.
Learning about the healthiest of food is fun and colorful
Kids can learn that calories are turned into energy to be spent. But fat is banked, saved and stored. Think of food as a bank account. Children at school are more of a captive audience. There's the chance to show and tell about healthier eating choices and how to keep obesity at bay.
The emphasis can be on fresh produce. Sacramento is known for its local agriculture. Even the mayor speaks about farm-to-fork lifestyles. Check out the school program that helps to resonate kids to think about heating healthy instead of sweets, salty chips, and heavily processed fats. Kids need to find out why kale is healthier than sugar-coated cold cereals made from highly processed wheat. How children learn about empty calories in sugary foods and beverages can help form healthier eating habits for generations.
You might like the book to share with kids, by a family physician, The Jungle Effect - Dr. Daphne Miller. When children learn about healthier food with a practical book, it gives you a chance to share the wisdom of traditional diets to our own plates. Kids interested in the culture of food can read about and explore the health benefits of traditional diets from Iceland to Cameroon.
The benefits include reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression, report reviewers. It's a travelogue of healthier eating by an author and family physician. In the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Barbara Kingsolver, you can share with children a seasonal tour of the generic "family farm," and also see recipes. The book explains what grows during each season as far as healthier food.
Most kids form food habits from babyhood when they watch what their families frequently eat
What kids need to learn about also is the politics of food and the policies surrounding food quality, affordability and safety. In some Sacramento neighborhoods the problem is availability of healthier foods. If there's a fast-food eatery every two blocks and no supermarkets selling affordable produce, the kids aren't going to take a bus and light rail to find a farmer's market, since the price of fresh produce may be too high and added to the cost of transportation. That's where urban gardens can help children learn to plant produce, even on school grounds or in school greenhouses.
Check out websites such as the Sacramento Food System Collaborative and Soil Born Farms or Feeding Crane Farms and the organization, Valley Vision. Check out the blog, "Awake at the Whisk — Living la vida locavore." Also see the book, Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes. Also read the memoir of an undercover restaurant critic, Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise: Ruth Reichl.
Children need to learn the history of what happened to food in the nation, such as what changed after industrialization, when large corporations began calling the shots for the nation's food supply. One issue for children to invent solutions to on paper and present suggestions is how to make food safer. Not many people knew Jane Goodall also wrote a book with two other authors on mindful eating.
Check out, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating. The message is for Western society to take a hard look at the food we produce and consume-and showing us how easy it is to create positive change. Offering her hopeful, but stirring vision, Goodall argues convincingly that each individual can make a difference. She offers simple strategies each of us can employ to foster a sustainable society. This book can give an overall big picture of how to use the strategies mentioned to make a difference.
You also may want to read with children (or senior citizens) the book, Fruitless Fall | Rowan Jacobsen.com, about the coming agricultural crisis. Check out the book's detail on the collapse of the honey bee and the coming agricultural crisis. Many people will remember that Rachel Carson predicted a silent spring, but she also warned of a fruitless fall, a time when “there was no pollination and there would be no fruit.”
This excellent book is highly recommended since bees pollinate most fruits, nuts, and vegetables
That fruitless fall has nearly arrived as beekeepers have watched a third of the honey bee population mysteriously die over the past two year, according to Rowan Jacobsen's book. Rowan Jacobsen uses the mystery of Colony Collapse Disorder to tell the bigger story of bees and their essential connection to our daily lives.
With their disappearance, we won’t just be losing honey, website about the book reports. Industrial agriculture depends on honey bees to pollinate most fruits, nuts, and vegetables—more than a third of the food we eat. Yet this system is falling apart.
This is a book that's also great for a school science project as far as discussing the research or writing and speaking on the topic. The book describes how the number of these professional pollinators has become so inadequate that they are now trucked across the country and flown around the world, pushing them ever closer to collapse.
By exploring the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the even more chilling decline of wild pollinators, the book, Fruitless Fall does more than just highlight this growing agricultural crisis. It emphasizes the miracle of flowering plants and their pollination partners, and urges readers not to take for granted the Edenic garden Homo sapiens has played in since birth. Our world could have been utterly different—and may be still, notes the book's website. Check out more information and reviews at the rowanjacobsen.com site.
Amber Stott, interviewed by the Sacramento Bee, recommends the following books on food. Read her suggestions regarding these books at the blog, "Awake at the Whisk — Living la vida locavore." You can find her thoughts on these 13 titles at her blog, Awake at The Wisk.
52 Loaves at Amazon by William AlexanderThe Food Matters Cookbook: 500 Revolutionary Recipes for Better Living by Mark Bittman (Sep 21, 2010) Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella CarpenterTomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook (Apr 24, 2012)
Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating: Jane Goodall, Gary McAvoy (Author), Gail Hudson (Author)
Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink"
More Resources on Nutrition and Food