In today’s ever fast-moving society, we are always in a hurry to get to where we need to be, which makes simple (and what used to be) normal activities such as eating together as a family, a special occasion nowadays.
I’m certain we have all experienced those days (mornings in particular) where we’ve had to rush out of the house - literally grabbing some grub as we head out of the door, in order to get that head-start on our busy schedule.
Much as we feel we can’t help this, we do need to take a minute to assess the impact of this on our lives and family. Yes, a family sit-down to meals might not be possible for all three in the day, for different reasons, but surely we can make room for one.
According to recent studies carried out, children like to sit down with the family at mealtimes, and are also more likely to eat a proper balanced and nutritious meal – with the fruit and veggies becoming regular visitors on their plates!
As already mentioned, getting everyone in the same place at the same time for a family meal might be bit of a challenge due to the different schedules, but with some planning and a few ideas, perhaps this activity could become a bit more regular in the family schedule even if not possible every day of the week.
Perhaps starting off with the one (or however many) day when the family is at home together and make it a family affair for the day e.g. Sunday; there could be a family breakfast to kick start the day, followed by the family activities, which could culminate in lunch in the afternoon or a nice family meal in the evening.
Involve the children in the meal planning and preparation as this would give them a strong sense of self and the foundation for a lifetime of healthy meal planning and preparation.
Seeing as this supposed to ‘family time’, be sure to keep all distractions at bay - the television should be off and the voice mail or the answering machine should be on full duty during the meal.
Take the opportunity to enjoy one another's company, reconnect and catch up on what happened in the week.
Instigate great conversations during the meal. Don't be too quick to get up and start clearing the dishes, as that can wait until everyone is done eating and talking.
On those days where you can't sit down to eat as a family, try sitting down, keeping them company and chatting with them while they are eating. This shows them you're interested and that you care and want to be involved - that you want to be an important part of their everyday life.
The conversation side of things might be a bit awkward at first, but don’t be discouraged, as remember, this is something that hasn’t been the norm for all and will take a bit of getting used to. So don’t despair when you ask questions and get a one-worded response. Try to keep things as natural as possible and it will start to flow eventually.
This also a great way for the family to bond, especially after a very hectic week for all.
So if you haven’t already started with the family meals, think about how it could promote healthy eating and great communication with the kids.
Food for thought eh...?
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