Foodie U: Mindful Eating for Families

Foodie U in Practice

Foodie U: Mindful Eating for Families was developed as part of the Foodie U project at California State University, Chico. Mindful eating refers to paying attention to the present moment when choosing, preparing, and eating food. Mindful eating can strengthen attention to food-elicited cues and decrease emotional eating due to negative emotions. Research suggests that mindful eating interventions may be associated with reduced food cravings, emotional eating, and binge-eating episodes, as well as improved health outcomes such as BMI and blood glucose levels. The primary goal of the Foodie U project was to develop and pilot-test strategies based on mindful eating practices for fostering healthy food-related behaviors among elementary-school children and families.  The workbook was pilot-tested with 3rd through 5th graders and their parents who were primarily Hispanic and non-Hispanic white. Nutrition educators taught six, once-a-month mindful eating lessons in the classroom and take-home activities were provided to promote the practice of mindful eating at home with parents or guardians. The workbook was modified and finalized based on feedback from children, parents and teachers, as well as suggestions from eXtension experts.

This workbook is primarily for educators who are interested in promoting healthy eating behaviors to children and families through mindful eating practices. It contains the following six lessons, each of which includes classroom activities for students and take-home activities for families:

Lesson 1: Master Mindless Munching 

Students will learn at least three ways to minimize the effects of environmental cues on their consumption of food and beverages at home.

girl eating orangeLesson 2: Sensational Senses

Students will practice present-centered awareness by noticing and describing the sensory observations of food and eating with curiosity and without judgments related to preferences.

Lesson 3: Getting to Know Hunger and Fullness

Students will learn how to listen to their body to notice their hunger level helps us decide when to start and stop eating

Lesson 4: Emotions Inside Out

Students will practice becoming aware of their thoughts and emotions as they relate to physical hunger and making balanced choices about food.

Lesson 5: Planting Seeds of Mindfulness

Students will increase awareness of the time and energy that goes into the food they eat before it reaches the plate.

Lesson 6: Cultural Celebration Feast

​Students will prepare and eat a meal mindfully and engage in community-building discussions with their peers, teachers, and family.

Additionally, this workbook includes materials such as handouts and take-home activities in Spanish. The authors encourage educators across the nation to modify the activities of the workbook based on their needs and interests.

Preliminary project evaluation results[i] suggest that mindful eating interventions may help increase mindful eating practices (awareness) and the consumption of healthful foods, as well as reducing food craving among children.  The authors sincerely hope this workbook is helpful in making positive changes in food behaviors and wellbeing of children and families!  For more information about Foodie U, please contact Keiko Goto at  This project was funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture -Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program.

Download the full PDF workbook here: Foodie U: Mindful Eating for Families


CHC logo

Chico LogoContributors

Shannon Pierson, MS, California State University, Chico

Joan Giampaoli PhD, RD, California State University, Chico

Keiko Goto, PhD, California State University, Chico

Alyson Wylie, MA, California State University, Chico

Ben Seipel, PhD, California State University, Chico


[i] Pierson S, Goto K, Giampaoli J, Wylie A. Impact of a pilot mindful eating intervention on food-related behaviors among elementary school children and parents. CAND Annual Conference and Expo, April, 2017; McClellan, CA.