Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bring Back Family Dinners!

By Allison Brooks

This is the 21st Century! Home of the overworked, underpaid, tired and in dire need of "me" time. Parents, children, husbands, wives and extended family are become isolated from each other, due to disparate schedules, after school activities, work and a myriad of other reasons. These days, people go to the nearest drive thru and eat on the run, order takeout and plop down on the counter, or use convenience and processed foods to prepare some semblance of a meal.

Family dynamics may have changed in the past 50 years, but the inherent desire to hold the family together still remains important. Circumstances might indicate that the concept of family is disintegrating and that may be the case for some people. The simple fact is that we are human and we need each other. A way that we can keep our family units strong and together is to sit together and to eat together. We need to nourish not only our bodies, but also our minds, spirits and souls.

Research has shown that families that make the time to have dinner together are happier, stronger and better prepared to negotiate life's difficulties. Eating together is a mutually beneficial experience for adults and children. Sitting and enjoying a meal together promotes open communication, better appetites and a more positive outlook on life. This is why many RD’s and nurses recommend a family meal at least once a day. Not only in the home but facilities like nursing homes and cancer facilities ask families to visit to have a meal together. Since the idea of a short life-expectancy can make one feel isolated, a family meal makes them feel closer and more at peace.

If you have not engaged in this practice, there is no better time than now. Getting everyone together to eat without distractions is going to take inner strength and resilience, but once you overcome the objections and excuses, your loved ones will start coming around. In fact, your family might even look forward to the family meal time.

There are both extrinsic and intrinsic benefits for eating together. Decide today that you will make the time and a lovingly prepared meal for your family. Everyone will thank you.

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