In today’s world, eating together as a family can be a struggle. There are nutrition, health, social and mental benefits of eating together. Here are some tips on how you can pull your families closer together for mealtime.
1. Schedule Time to Eat Together Eating together can be during any meal - breakfast, lunch or dinner. If you don’t usually eat together, then start by doing it at least once a week and gradually increase as time passes by. Schedule activities so that they will not interfere with your mealtime. For example, if you really have to go out (even during quarantine), then make sure that you do not go out on the days where you have marked on the calendar. Similar to when planning activities with your friends - if you have a plan, it is more likely to happen.
2. Everyone Can Help to Plan and Prepare Meals
If you have children at home, get them involved. Eating together is more likely to happen when everyone joins in. For example, children can help to defrost frozen food from the fridge, cut the vegetables and help to prepare other ingredients in the quantity needed. They could also help to rinse and wipe the utensils needed for mealtime. This would be a good way to teach your children about nutrition, kitchen safety and others. It would also be a great way to connect with each other!
3. Mealtime = Time to Be Together
Eating together provides a time to be connected. This helps our children to feel secure and loved. Focus on each other’s company, while talking to each other. Ask each other regarding their day as it will help them to open up and share. Encourage positive conversations and talk about values. Also keep in mind that phones, TV and tablets distractions so keep them away.
4. Health and Social Benefits of Eating Together
People of all ages eat better when they share a table or meal with others. We will usually eat what’s in front of us, thus children are most likely to eat the vegetable that has been cooked. Other benefits would include:
Healthy eating into adulthood
Lowering risk of disordered eating
Better self-esteem and less depression
[Source: Health Link BC]