Dr. Ludwig uses this mediation with his clients as a way to encourage mindful eating. In his book, Ending the Food Fight, he references a study by Cornell’s Brian Wansink (a ChopChop Healthy Hero) which shows that “the amount we eat has little to do with how much we enjoy our food. If we eat mindfully, a bowl of strawberries with 100 calories can be more pleasurable than a bag of chips with five times as many calories.”
If you don’t like chocolate or don’t want to use chocolate, pick any treat or sweet with depth of flavor, color and texture. And says Dr. Ludwig, "if you're going to eat something less healthful, do so mindfully, and get maximum enjoyment from a modest serving.”
Dr. Ludwig’s Chocolate Meditation (slightly adapted)
- Go to the store with your kids and purchase a bar of high quality chocolate.
- Sit down at a table or on the grass. Ask them to take a deep breath and relax for a minute.
- Give everyone, including you, a small piece.
- Without taking a bite, ask each child to describe its color, texture and smell and to imagine how it will taste.
- Now, ask them to eat the chocolate very, very slowly and you do the same.
- Conversation prompts: Notice how the chocolate feels and how it begins to melt. Is it bitter? Salty? Sweet? Something else? When you swallow, notice how it travels down your throat and into your stomach.
- Now, give them another piece and ask them to eat it slowly and in silence.
*For older kids, ask them to write about this experiment.
(photo credit: Equal Exchange)