Re-engineered Meal Time: An Evolutionary Intervention

Complaining to Savouring: An Evolution

Like all parents, we have also had our fair share of tantrums and complaints from our toddler – when it comes to feeding. These include the usual aspects like quantity, timing, taste, colour, and the like.

Initially, we were insistent on making him understand the value of nutrition, growth, family time, dinner table meeting, and the like, and seldom this was followed by occasional feelings of distraught (it was a feeling of -5). We concluded that it was not working for either of us. Therefore, we started to take things lightly, and slowly the eating routine and tantrums cooled off (from -5 to 0).

However, we always felt that there is scope to make it even better (taking it from 0 to +5).

And there could be no opportune moment than today. It so happened that for snacks time, to pair up with nachos and vegetables, I had prepared a cheese dip that my son had asked for yesterday. I promised to make it today, and so I did.

However, every time I was dipping my vegetables or nachos in the cheese bowl, he was complaining of me – ‘being greedy’ (which I was not, though I may when it comes to tempting liquid cheese). A few times, he showed signs of becoming enraged, which I was completely ignoring (as learned from prior experiences of keeping things calm while eating).

When we all were done eating, there was still some cheese left in the bowl.

Now, seeing this, I would have become cranky, and would have complained. But this time I took a science and research way – Flicking The Strength Switch ON (The Strength Switch, Dr Lea Waters). Luckily, my exposure to Positive Psychology and Mindfulness also came handy.

I had spoken to him earlier on various instances where he had demonstrated Mindfulness, Savouring and Flow – building LEGO, doodling, sketching, Snap Circuits, and the like. Therefore, my job became a tad easier; all I had to do was to replicate it onto mindful eating and savouring food with family. Additionally, there was a need to remind of missing the opportunity of his top strength – Kindness (mischievously his mouth was agape, realising a mistake that was clearly avoidable with the usage of Strengths).

Our conversation was concluded with a written agreement to serve as a reminder of subsequent family meal times.

Now, we understand that owing to his continuous mental development, he still needs to be occassionaly reminded, we hope, that the practice will eventually become his lifestyle and will go a long way as a well-being phenomenon.

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