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news item News Tuesday, March 5, 2019 Tuesday, March 5, 2019 4:13 PM - Tuesday, March 5, 2019 4:13 PM

Mindful eating: Celebrating National Nutrition Month this March

By Jennifer Hall, MS, RD, LDN, clinical dietitian

The focus of this year’s National Nutrition Month is about creating greater awareness of the importance of healthful eating for all, which should also be catered to each individual’s unique needs. An important piece of this message is not only about eating healthfully, but also placing an emphasis on eating mindfully. Mindful eating is taking the time to make thoughtful choices about what you eat, as well as making decisions on how to enjoy and savor those selections. Starting healthy and mindful eating as children can create a positive relationship with food to last a lifetime.

As dietitians, our primary focus is often on working with patients to understand either what elements are missing from the diet, or what additional nutrients may be needed due to medical considerations, with the overall goal of improved health. Our nutritional counseling at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston can encompass a variety of nutritional needs, most often including a high calorie and protein diet or increased calcium and vitamin D intake. We work with families so they understand the reasoning behind our recommendations and how to make these changes to fit their preferences and lifestyle.

Our goal for patients and families is for them to use the nutritional education and tools we’ve provided to make better choices, and work towards eating in a mindful way, especially as they move towards outpatient care or a return home. This translates to making healthful choices that can incorporate traditional cooking methods or ingredients, choosing and preparing meal choices as a family, and taking the time to enjoy a meal without the distractions of today’s technologies. We hope that patients and families can develop a healthy eating lifestyle that not only meets their nutritional needs but is flavorful, enjoyable and sustainable over time.

Tips for healthy and mindful eating

  • Eat slowly
  • Use smaller plates
  • Choose more fruits and vegetables over processed meals and snacks
  • Notice the unique flavors of different foods
  • Turn off the TV and phones to enjoy a quiet meal
  • Learn where your food comes from and how it came to be on your plate
  • Everything in moderation

For more information, tools and nutrition-related games for kids, check out these resources: