This year we are celebrating Canada's 150th birthday and presidents choice has made it a mission to get more Canadians to eat together (#eattogether).
I came across this video and it gave me goosebumps from head to toe. I think it's because I really felt the message - nothing brings us together like eating together (or at least I think so). Before continuing on with this read, I want you to ask yourself how you feel when you eat with your family, friends or others? What thoughts, feelings or memories come to mind? I have countless wonderful memories that come to mind, but my feeling is calmness. Although preparing a meal is time consuming, and cleaning is even worse, there is something calming about sitting down to a meal and enjoying it! It might not be the meal itself but the company that comes with it!
I have always loved mealtime and eating with others. I grew up in a household where we ate dinner together every single evening. Even being in my home now, I often visit my family once a week or once bi-weekly for a family meal. Even in my own home, mealtime is a time to reconnect, laugh, and enjoy food I love with the people I love! Nothing is better then spending a Sunday morning having breakfast and tea with my family (little happies).
Sometimes with our busy schedules we forget to take the time (whether that be 10 minutes or an hour) to really eat together and enjoy that time. We are too often eating over the counter, or in front of Netflix or while answering emails.
So what are the benefits of eating together anyway?
Family meals have many physical, emotional, and mental benefits
More frequent family meals are associated with:
Reduced risk of depression or depressive symptoms
Lower risk of body dissatisfaction and less concern about body weight
Better academic outcomes (higher marks and greater commitment to learning)
Healthy eating habits (including more fibre, breakfast consumption, and greater fruit and vegetable intake)
Lower rates of obesity
Reduced risk of substance abuse
Reduced disordered eating
Despite all these wonderful research based benefits. How does eating with others make you feel? If you feel as good as I do, try to make it happen more often! Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your next #eattogether meal.
1. It doesn't have to be the typical dinner meal, you can eat with others during breakfast or lunch or even enjoy a warm beverage in good company!
2. It doesn't have to be a 1-2 hour event, simply being present and enjoying a meal of 10-20 minutes with your family is still eating together!
3. Find a time that works for you, perhaps for your family that is only a weekend breakfast or lunch, whatever the time is find a way to make it work.
4. Try batch cooking, keep things handy so you don't have to spend so much of your time and energy during the week cooking. Think crock pot meals like stews or chilis. Or quick and easy dinners including tacos, or a pasta dish.
To find some great recipes and resources to help encourage family meals, check out The Family Dinner Project website. Click here for more information!
To learn more about PC's #eattogether contest (win a 7 day trip to Ottawa) and more great recipes, please click here.
Remember to #eattogether whenever you get a chance, because nothing brings us together like food does! Eating together is all about enjoying food, memories, laughs, and connecting with those you love. <3
Until next time,
Eat Right Feel Right - Angela XO
1) Harrison, M.E., Norris, M.L., Obeid, N., Fu, M., Weinstangel, H., & Sampson, M. (2015). Systematic review of the effects of family meal frequency on psychosocial outcomes in youth. Canadian Family Physician, 61(2).
2) Woodruff, S.J., Hanning, R.M., McGoldrick, K., & Brown, K.S. (2010). Healthy eating index-C is positively associated with family dinner frequency among students in grades 6-8 from southern Ontario, Canada. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 64.
3) Fulkerson J.A., Story M., Mellin A., Leffert N., Neumark-Sztainer D., French S.A. (20016). Family dinner meal frequency and adolescent development: relationships with developmental assets and high-risk behaviors. Journal of Adolescent Health.