The Lost Art of Eating Meals Together as a Family
Depending on your age, you may or may not remember the Leave it To Beaver model of eating dinner together as a family. This was the time to share what went on during the day, share in a meal prepared with love and bond as a family.
Fast forward to today. Sit down, home cooked meals are quickly becoming a faded memory for many families. As a result, health in general is on the decline, monthly food budgets are out of control, and family closeness is in the high-risk category.
With the decline of healthy eating, family closeness and more stressed day-to-day lives, a simple solution to live a better quality of life is a focus on families eating meals together.
Regardless of the makeup, or size of the family, sitting down for meals is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health in mind, body and soul. No matter who chooses to prepare the meal, homecooked meals can be much better for you than eating out.
A few benefits of eating together are healthier food choices, healthier relationships, cost savings, and closer family unit.
Healthier Food Choices
By taking time to plan meals, you’re more conscious of the foods you feed your family. With so many people grabbing fast foods simply to fill the void, disease is on the rise as is obesity.
Taking time to eat as a family, along with the process of thinking through your meals, gives you the opportunity to avoid foods that are detrimental to you, and your families, health.
The act of sitting down at the dinner table to eat as a family tends to open your awareness to healthier food choices. The entire process is focused on what is best for everyone who will be joining in.
Spending time together at the dinner table allows for healthier relationships. Most people, children included, are so distracted due to electronic devices, social media, television and the pressures of daily life, time at the dinner table is a great opportunity to decompress while connecting with family members.
Since dinner usually occurs at the same time as the evening news, the temptation is to watch the news while eating.
This is one of the worst things you can do. Watching the news while eating reduces your ability to digest your food, causes unnecessary angst and increases stress. In addition, it distracts from the very reason you are eating together in the first place; time to connect with your loved ones.
To get the most out of your time together, set ground rules. No phones or television while you’re eating. No loud music. No distractions whatsoever.
Planning out healthy meals is much more cost effective than grabbing a quick meal at the local drive through or sit-down restaurant.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a family with four members could easily spend between $568 to $1,293 each month eating out. This may be lower than what many families spend eating out.
For a family of four to eat out at a modest chain restaurant, a meal, with tip, can easily run well over $50. That same meal at home can cost less than $20.
With stress on the rise due to more credit card debt than ever in history, it makes sense that eating at home is a wise financial choice to make.
Closer Family Unit
By taking time to eat at least one meal a day together, you are in a better position to build a strong family. Dinner time can be used to check in for the day, find out how school and work is going, share what each person is involved with and build stronger bonds with one another.
It’s important to put enough time aside to make the experience as memorable as possible.
Eating meals together is a lost art. Fewer and fewer families are taking the time to do so, but the benefits in moving back to this practice are plentiful.
Taking time to plan family meals does take effort. Yet, the benefits are worth it.