A common concern among families is the general health and well-being of loved ones; from increases in obesity and other medical concerns to problems faced by children in school and beyond, there are many challenges that family members face that can lead to a lower quality of life. Forming ways to address these challenges is an important goal, and while there may be any number of approaches to improving family health, some of the most effective are also the most simple. A powerful way to encourage better health among family members and to realize a range of other benefits is to buck the trend of hectic modern family life and make a commitment to eating together. Though a family doesn’t have to share every single meal, making a point of sitting down and eating with one another on a regular basis can have almost instant, and certainly long-lasting, effects.
When schedules are tight and daily responsibilities mean spending a lot of time away from home, family relationships can easily become strained. Feelings of abandonment or of being little if at all involved in the lives of loved ones can damage family relationships, especially when such feelings are experienced over long periods of time. One of the ways in which eating together helps encourage a family to achieve better health is through the creation of a daily opportunity to connect and communicate. Sitting down over a meal presents a natural and easy setting for family members to talk about issues that may be troubling them, and to receive support or insight from others –something that may feel rushed or which might not even take place if chaotic lifestyles are left to run the interactions of families.
Of course, eating together can affect more than just psychological health. As nutrition is increasingly cited as being an important focus for today’s families, finding ways to consume healthier food is essential, and eating at home regularly can help make this goal a reality. While eating out may be convenient, and some family members may simply not like to cook, the ability to control which ingredients are added to foods at home can have a profound impact on a family’s health. Looking at the prospect of home cooking may seem daunting to those who are used to counting on others for kitchen labor, but the benefits of eating at home daily far outweigh the initial frustration or learning curve that home cooking may require. It’s not necessary to force family members to eat “healthy” fare that they don’t like; while some diets and nutritional guidelines suggest that bland or boring foods are a required part of healthy eating, simply updating family favorite with better ingredients and ensuring there’s a balanced selection of food groups available without frying or excesses of sugar can go a long way towards creating healthier families.
One way to work even more benefits into a commitment to eating together is to cook together, as well. Some kitchens may seem to discourage a team effort, but when family members are assigned various tasks such as chopping vegetables, watching over boiling pots or sautéed ingredients, or setting the table, working through a meal can be far easier and more enjoyable. When family members become a part of the meal preparation process, they may also get a boost from the sense that they’ve been valuable to others –something that can be difficult to accomplish amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Eating together as a family also ensures that people are able to take a much-needed time out. Too often, people eat while driving, standing around in preparation to go somewhere, or while studying or engaged in work. Though such methods certainly allow people to get through their meals, they often prevent any real enjoyment of eating. When people rush through their food or are deeply involved in other tasks while eating, they may not be able to appreciate the act of being nourished, which can lead to intensified cravings for junk food or to feeling tired and hungry. When families take the time to sit down together and share a meal, however, the sense of being replenished should be far more evident. Meals are bound to feel more satisfying, and the stress of a workday or a difficult event at school may simply seem to melt away when food is enjoyed with loved ones in a relaxed, slow-paced setting.
There are plenty of potential family problems that eating together won’t fix, but to boost general well-being and to make a great start towards achieving better health, making a commitment to this goal is a strong and effective step. No matter the time of day, choosing to eat a meal with family at home can make better health a feature of every day.
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About the Author: Hi, my name is Ralph Winn. Thanks for coming and checking out my profile, I hope you like reading my articles! Being a writer means sharing a bit of one's self. My main interests are in the areas of security. I have over 38 years of education and experience in the security industry. Throughout my career, I have developed cost effective security programs for numerous small, medium, large commercial and government properties and for many nationally known corporations. .