October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month
With our fast food, smart phone / facebook / twitter filled, fast paced lifestyles, no one seems to have the time (or more likely, find the time) for this healthy tradition. I challenge you to find that time.
I searched back to my childhood to remember when and how often we sat down as a family to enjoy mom’s or grandma’s cooking. It was regular for us, and we sure did have a lot of great round table discussions during those times. With 3 brothers and 3 sisters, the “players” changed often. Sometimes it was the entire family, sometimes it included aunts, uncles, cousins and many times extended family (friends and neighbors) and sometimes just a couple of us. We would always wait until everyone arrived at the table, while mom fixed plates and cut up the meat, including daddy’s, 🙂 [that’s right ladies] to begin eating. And the meals included “real” food made fresh and from scratch – not “fast” food from a box or McDonalds or Burger King. Most of all, I remember the Sunday meals after church. Now those were the special meals. Even today, mom has certain foods that are just for Sundays (and of course, there are those foods that you never eat on Sundays… like spaghetti or fish – that’s for Fridays). That, however, is one tradition that did not make it into my adulthood. I’ll cook anything regardless of the day if I have the taste for it.
My point is that aside from the healthful benefits, many traditions and family values are shaped around cooking and eating together. For instance, we were not allowed to sing or dance at the meal table. And, I remember as a teenager being responsible for cooking 1 meal a week, much to the chagrin of the rest of the family. But, when it was time to eat, we sat down together. Lucky for most of my brothers and sisters, they had left the house-hold by the time I started cooking and did not have to suffer through my learning experience. While there are more traditions I could share, I would much rather read some of your family meal traditions! Please share.
Now, back to the point. There’s research* that show the effects of eating together is very beneficial, especially where children are concerned. Here are some very good reasons to Eat Better and Eat Together:
- Meals are more likely to be more nutritious.
- Children do better in school and have fewer behavior problems.
- Teenagers are less likely to use alcohol or drugs.
- Children and teenagers say they actually like having time to talk to the adults in their lives… and that improves communication between them.
- Children learn and understand their family’s values and traditions.
I believe all of this is absolutely true – especially since it was true for me. The dinner table was one of the places I was taught, among many things, right from wrong, how to treat others with respect… and to say please and thank you.
When was the last time you sat down and ate a meal with your family? If you can’t remember, turn off the TV, put away the smart phones, stop the texting… Now is a great time to start!
Always with Love!