Reading through some research material, I came upon a quote:
“Promoting the family meal is a potential public health measure for improving dietary quality, reducing overweight, and improving educational and social outcomes.” (From Katherine Cason, PhD, RD; Journal of the American Dietetic Association, April 2006).
And in honor of National Nutrition Month, this is what I would like to focus on!
So many of us are all tied up in our own little worlds that we forget some of the simplest ways to become healthier in many aspects of our lives! I, as well as many others in my generation and before, can remember most, if not all, of our family dinners taking place around the dinner table. No television, no toys, hardly ever a meal of processed foods or foods from a fast food joint! Not to mention, the conversations were plentiful too!
Considering there is a much higher rate of overweight and obese children today, there has to be some correlation between a lack of real family dinners and the growing numbers of overweight and obese children (as I have yet to check the research).
How can you turn your family meal into a more “Leave It To Beaver” style family meal? Hopefully I can help!
1. Plan one more family mealtime in every week. –If evenings seem too hectic, try the weekends or maybe even breakfast!
2. Plan meals together –even simple ones our kiddos plan can be nutritious!
3. Plan to set an appealing table –add colorful napkins, a candle or even fun tablemats! –This is especially fun in my household because my daughter loves the Olive Garden. Health-wise, time-wise and money-wise, it just is not feasible to consistently go out to dinner. So, I cook a meal similar to what we would have at the Olive Garden, my daughter sets our dining room table, we put out candles and turn on some Italian café inspired music! She loves it!
4. Plan to enjoy the conversation –choose positive topics, talk about the school day and what was learned, or talk about what is coming up for the coming week!
5. Plan a distraction-free meal –declare mealtime an electronic free zone!
Try it! It can be a gradual change but be sure to keep your changes consistent, and don’t give up!
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