Come And Get It!!
When was the last time you and your family sat down to eat a meal together? Is it only for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas that more effort is made to get everyone to sit together and eat as a family? Today’s society has families running from activity to activity making it hard to round up the troops for a meal, especially dinnertime. Even the family TV sitcoms from the past had families sitting around the table sharing a meal. It was expected that each family member make it a priority to reserve that time for family.
I remember back when I was young, we always had dinner together, no matter what. We had to wait until my Dad came home from work, then sit together, eat and talk about our day. It was a valuable time to connect with each other, strengthen our family bond and pass on our cultural traditions. It was a sacred time that was meaningful and an important part of being a family. At special occasions, the family dinner was even more valuable as it extended to more than the immediate family. It was often time to see cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents. I recall my family holiday dinners ending with many stories of the past and rowdy card games bringing laughter and tears to the table.
The benefits of family meals go beyond the food on the table and family togetherness. Regular meals together as a family can educate children and teens in many ways that will enrich their lives beyond the apparent health benefits of eating nutritious food together.
Even the busiest of families should try to fit some family meals into their week. These are just some of the reasons family meals are important; (some are proven science-based reasons!)
· Connections. These meals provide opportunity for the family to bond, plan, connect and learn from one another. They foster warmth, security and love as well as feelings of belonging.
· Exploration. These mealtimes provide a perfect opportunity to expose your family to different food tastes and textures. Children are encouraged to try new foods that could be from other cultures and countries, new vegetables from the farmer’s market or a new recipe from a favorite cookbook.
· Healthy Food. Meals prepared at home are usually more nutritious and healthy. They contain more fresh fruits and vegetables, maybe even from a backyard garden. Healthier dietary food patterns are associated with family dinners leading to better understanding of the nutrients in foods.
· Academics. Children and teens that eat with their families on a regular basis have higher academic performance compared to those who didn’t often eat as a family. They often have better vocabularies and positive classroom behavior too.
· Healthy Children. Children are less likely to be overweight or obese when eating as a family. The foods served are more nutritious; home cooked and promotes better portion control. The average restaurant meal has as much as 60% more calories than a homemade meal.
· Finances. Many families are eating out many nights of the week due to scheduling, commitments and activities. It costs almost double to eat out and likely will not be as nutritious as eating at home. Meal preparation at home also teaches children how to cook for themselves. What a useful life-skill to instill in your kids!
I think it is time to bring the “family” back to the dinner table. Sharing a meal together gives everyone a sense of identity. It can ease the day to day conflicts and establish great long lasting memories. Cooking meals with kids and assigning tasks surrounding meal time promotes independence and a sense of responsibility in the kitchen, and in life. Eating together starts a lasting and positive relationship with food. Mealtime is an ideal time to remind your spouse and children that they are loved and an important part of the family.
If you are rarely eating together as a family, start by trying it 2-3 times a week and notice the positive affects if will have on the family unit. You will never regret taking time to share a nutritious home-cooked meal with your family. Isn’t it time to make family meals a habit in your home?
Do you want to know more? Do you want to figure out how to make family dinners work for you? Are you struggling with meal ideas the whole family would love? Would a custom-made meal plan that fits your family’s needs make it easier to sit down for family meals? Let’s chat about how holistic nutrition consulting and health coaching can help you get your family back around that family table. We can provide recipes, meal and snack ideas and support changes to transform your health! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with one of us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with clients from all over the world individually or in groups so don’t let anything hold you back!