Eating with others is an important tool in your wellness tool bag, providing you with emotional and physical benefits.
10 years ago I started Bringing Back Dinner as a way to help others reduce the struggle of coming up with "What's for dinner!" and to help educate people about the benefits of bringing dinner back into their lifestyle and home. I started by encouraging people to make dinner time a priority, sit together around the table or some other fun place, and build the habit of conversation and relationship as part of meal time. Over the years I've included tips to help you live the habit of health through Lifestye, Exercise, Attitude, and Nutrition plus our environment. Today, I realize that even I didn't truly see how important this is!
Over the past 10 years our society is busier, less likely to settle down to a meal, spends less time over the meal than in the past, is less healthy physically and emotionally, and is larger! So, let's revisit this, let's Bring Back Dinner.
Studies show that taking time to eat with others improves our eating habits and increases our sense of well-being.
Married couples report having a better sense of communication and security.
Helps model healthy habits to younger generations.
Creates feelings of safety and happiness.
Creates memories and traditions.
Broadens exposure to cultures and learning.
Builds social support.
Societies that make a point to eat together and build community have more people who live longer, often well into their 100s.
Families who eat together tend to build better communication and trust.
Children who eat with their family on a regular basis tend to have higher self-esteem.
Too busy or brand new to the idea? Decide to build up to more frequent meals seated at the table. By building up to it, it is more likely to become a habit. Start with one meal a week.
Make mealtimes an electronics-free meal time and encourage conversation
Try having a picnic inside or outside.
Commit to reaching out to friends and schedule dinner outings.
Commit to reaching out to single friends and inviting them over or go out.
Keep the conversation light and free if possible, but see #7.
Create a safe zone around meals. Let what is said at the table stay at the table and create an environment where people can freely, without judgment, express themselves. Allow laughter, tears, true confessions, and fun at the table.
Don't feel pressure to make some "Top Chef" worthy meal. Most people are happy with whatever their choices are. They are there to be with you!
If you don't have fancy food, try putting it on fancy dishes! When my kids were little sometimes I'd make sloppy joes and put it on china and suddenly everyone was in a better mood. It's fun!
What if you live alone?
Focus on slowing down and eating away from the TV and distractions and consider learning to eat Mindfully. This brings a more relaxed experience to your meal time.
Invite a friend over. You don't have to do all the work, ask your friend to bring part of the meal or order takeout (but try to pick nutritiously wise meals).
Invite a friend to go out to eat. It can be taking a meal to the picnic, out on a boat, or eating a meal on a trail. Be creative.
Let people in your life know that you'd like to be included in some meal times, at a home out-to-eat.
Join or start a meal group. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner. You could try monthly. This could be a potluck, restaurant, or experiences.
If you have a family and everyone is busy try to find one time during the week to eat together as a family. For your family, it may be breakfast one morning or brunch. Ask your family to brainstorm ideas and try them out.
Here I am 10 years later, understanding that Bringing Back Dinner is as important to our overall wellness as the food we choose. It is the heart of Community to break bread together.
What are your ideas? Share with us how you Bring Back Dinner! Tag me on social media.
Need help Bringing Back Dinner? Schedule a coaching session to develop a plan.
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