Food for Thought

Family eating together, North Shore Personal Training, Healthy Eating, NutritionEach week I set my groups a weekly lifestyle challenge, these little gems get them working ‘in’ while not working ‘out’ in the park with me.This weeks challenge is one that I love.

EAT DINNER AT THE TABLE AS A FAMILY FOR ONE WEEK

Not enough of us eat dinner as a family these days.  Busy schedules and pressures mean that we often eat on the run, or at different times.  If family do eat together there are usually distractions like TV, phones and music.  So while food is still being consumed there is no real connection between the people eating.

Meal times used to be a time of celebration, a time to share your day with your loved ones and a time to relax and kick back ready for sleep and rest.  I remember as a child sitting down to eat each night with my family, it was such a important bonding experience for us as a family.  I also used to love helping Mum prepare dinner in the kitchen (but maybe not so much the washing up after!).

Research conducted by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University over a decade has shown that more and more families each dinner separately, many in front of the TV, and that communication between parents and their children is at an all time low.  Studies also found that children who ate meals with their families frequently had better eating habits, better academic success, better mental health, and lower risk for both obesity and substance abuse.  Not only is meal time with family important, it’s also invaluable as a couple. It’s a great time to wind down and stay connected to each other. Couples today are more likely to eat dinner separately or in front of the TV.  The lack of communication is often the main cause of relationship troubles and break ups.

Research shows that people that watch television during dinner eat more fatty foods and less fruits and vegetables.

If you do eat alone then the company of the TV or music can be an easy habit to slip into. But the added health benefits of eating at a table cannot be ignored even if you are just cooking for one.

Eating at table rather than slumped in an arm chair in front of the TV, improves digestion as you body can focus on the task at hand rather than diverting energy to other bodily functions, this means you are making the most of all the nutrients in your food. It relaxes you and enables you to chew food mindfully rather than wolfing it down and food just tastes better when you focus on eating it!  You’ve spent time preparing it so it makes sense to take time to enjoy it!

Some things to try:

  • As a family try to plan one meal a day in which everyone can be together. If the weekdays are too hectic, make a special effort on the weekend.
  • Get romantic! Plan your meal, lights some candles and relive your first date every night.
  • Have some fun with talking. Start a tradition by sharing the best thing that happened that day.
  • Turn off the TV! Television viewing during dinner kills conversation and diverts energy to other bodily functions.
  • Get your family and friends involved in the cooking and clearing up!
  • If you eat alone then try listening to a play or music for company.

Try this out for one week and let us know how you go.

Posted by Sarah Anne.


28 July 2011

By Sarah Anne

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