The other key part of the potential of food to bring us together is to be sure to give your attention to food. Put the phone down! Turn that TV off. Make eye contact and enjoy the company you have at the table. Meals are a great time to connect with your kids.
There are so many benefits for kids when you eat together as a family.
- Eating more fruit and vegetables
- Doing better in school
- Lower risk for being overweight
- Less risk of eating disorders
- Teens are less likely to smoke, use drugs/alcohol and get into serious fights
Overcome the challenge- get creative!
- Family meals don’t have to be dinner, sometimes breakfast or lunch works better.
- Get help- it involves the kids and let’s you focus on other aspects of getting the meal on the table. Give the kids jobs that don’t take a lot of attention from you such as setting the table, ripping up lettuce, grating, stirring, etc.
- Have a (loose) meal plan. Having some ideas for the week that you know you have the ingredients on hand for can really make a difference.
- Cut up fruit and veggies and have them ready in the fridge so that you can grab and eat and help get a meal on the table quicker.
- Use it as a time to connect in addition to a time to refuel- around our dinner table we answer three questions-
- When were you kind today?
- When were you brave today?
- When did you fail today?
- Lately there has been a fourth question from the kids- What was your favourite part of your day? Believe it or not, the answer is usually that meal together!
Ipsos Reid 2017 study conducted for Dietitians of Canada
Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.NutritionMonth2018.