When was the last time you thought about what you were eating while you were eating it? With so many distractions in our everyday life, I bet it’s been a while.
During lunch at Holcomb Elementary, all students are required to sit through a silent minute where they do nothing more than focus on eating their lunch. This started because a student felt there was not enough time to eat during their 20-minute lunch period. From there, the “Munchie Minute” was born.
In our garden and cooking club, we decided to expand on that principle and make it more meaningful; we decided to practice a “Mindful Munchie Minute.” After we complete our garden activity and make our snack, the students pass out a portion of the snack to everyone; no one starts eating until all have been served. From there, we spend the next minute munching in silence. While we snack, we ask ourselves the following questions:
- How does the food taste?
- How does the food smell?
- How does the food feel in my mouth?
- Do I like this food?
- What would I do to make it better?
After the minute passes (which the kids tell me feels like forever, every time) we discuss the good and the not-so-good of our snack. The first couple times resulted in kids making silly remarks, which I expected. After all, mindfulness is an abstract concept. After a few weeks though, the kids started to get the hang of it. What started out as simple answers such as “it was good” or “I didn’t like it,” evolved into more descriptive observations like “the dressing was tangy” or “I liked how crunchy the apple was!”
I don’t expect these 3rd and 4th graders to have life-changing moments during that minute of mindfulness, but at least they are being introduced to a healthy practice that they can adapt to many aspects of their life. Research shows that practicing mindfulness can help kids reduce stress and anxiety and boost memory. This helps them focus and learn, get better sleep, and even prevent weight gain.
How can you incorporate a mindful minute into your day?