Did you know? Children who eat at least five times a week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home according to a number of reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University(CASA). October is Eat Better, Eat Together Month because families that dine together experience better communication as a benefit from eating together. Best of all when families eat together they eat more nutritiously and a greater variety of foods while they enjoy celebrations and bond around family meals.
But with hectic work schedules for parents and stressful school schedules for kids, it can sometimes seem next to impossible to share meals together with your family. Here are 5 tasty tips for Eat Better, Eat Together Month that can help make spending quality time with the family over meals more rewarding and happen more often.
Start with one: With everyone’s chaotic busy schedule it may not always be possible to eat together every day and that’s okay. Try to set a goal to add just one family meal to the week and slowly build from there. As that meal becomes a habit, it’ll be easier to add more.
Pick any mealtime: Eating dinner together is nice, but not always a realistic meal choice for your family. Be flexible and try to plan something around everyone’s schedule. If you can’t pull off dinner, make your family meal time breakfast or lunch on the weekends. Even brunch or a weekend picnic works!
Ditch digital distractions: In the technical age, it can be hard to not look at your phone every few seconds for the newest tweet, ping, ding and Facebook update. But your family time is sacred and should be enjoyed without digital distractions. Every moment may not be filled with cheerful banter and profound political chat; however it will be more memorable and impactful than meals spent in front of your television or smart phone.
The more the merrier: Why not let the kids help prepare the meals? Setting aside small age appropriate tasks for children to do not only lets them express their creativity and take pride in their contributions, but they’ll also be more likely to try new nutritious foods. You can also plan a trip to the local farmers market to pick out fresh produce to add to your meals or let kids pick recipes online that they’d like to try.
Aim for quality, not quantity: Sometimes everyone is so strapped for time that devoting hours to a family meal just isn’t feasible. That’s why on busy days, it helps to serve something quick and easy so there is more time to talk. Even if that means picking up take-out from a nearby Mediterranean place or having fresh sandwiches at your local deli. As long as you all enjoy something healthy and nourishing, you’re doing it right!
Eating healthy is as essential as spending quality time with family. Eat Better, Eat Together Month encourages others to do both. The healthy choices you make can help model and inspire your children to make healthier more mindful meal choices as well. If you’d like to learn more about making healthier meal choices for you and your family, please contact Right Nutrition Works today.
Prajakta Apte, RDN is a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist who works with individuals who want to be more conscious about their health but who may struggle with knowing what’s accurate and want to have a complete makeover by learning how to transform their understanding of nutrition and health. By doing so, they can be more confident about their nutritional health and be known as experts in health and nutrition among their tribe.
Prajakta Apte, RDN
Right Nutrition Works
18789 N Reems Rd, Suite 260-I
Surprise AZ 85374
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