You may have seen our Arizona Nutrition Network’s new messages about how important it is for families to eat together. The Network provides nutrition education statewide for participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and their message about the importance of family meals can be seen on television, billboards, social media, community classes, and many other locations.
Mealtime is family time and we encourage you to take time to make meals and memories together. I know how difficult it can be as a working family with kids to get a nutritious family meal on the table. My house is always busy in the evening after I get home from work as we make dinner, help the kids finish homework and get two kids and a baby fed, bathed and in bed. But I must say meal time is one of my favorite times of the day. We have a rule at our house, “no technology during meals.” This is the time I get to truly talk and connect with my kids.
Every weekend, I try to cook a new recipe with my kids. Usually it’s something we are going to eat during that week to make dinner time a little less hectic. There are lots of benefits to this; cooking is an important skill they can use as they get older, teaches them math and measuring, and I get to spend more quality time with them. Plus, it gets me a pre-cooked meal that’s ready to go! My oldest really enjoys looking at recipes and picking some to try. One of the places we like to look is the Arizona Nutrition Network’s recipe website. It has a bunch of recipes that are healthy that use lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Plus, it already has all of the nutritional information available for you!
Remember to cook together, eat together and talk together. Make mealtime a time for family. For healthy tips and recipes, visit www.eatwellbewell.org.
Just a quick note to say what a great role model you are, especially for the early childhood community! With 3 young children, I’m sure it is difficult just to get through the routine of dinner, baths, school work, a little play time and stories before bed. The fact that you prioritize sitting down to family meals every evening, taking time to talk and listen to each other without technology, as well as enlisting your children to participate in the meal planning and preparation speaks volumes about you as a parent. Thanks for sharing your story!
I’d like to suggest a more inclusive message that doesn’t further isolate our neighbors with a family size of one. The concept behind the post is positive. So is the use of personalization by talking about your kids & your routine after work. Unfortunately, the narrow focus with a positive message came across as unfavorable for anyone who does NOT have a family to ‘enjoy mealtime’ with. If the message is scientifically accurate, then I would hope future posts (or a quick edit of this particular blog entry) will be written with scientifically proven suggestions for individuals who frequently eat alone.
You pose some interesting thoughts. There are many definitions of family and usually it means at least two people who are related or connected in some way. From a different perspective, you can think of yourself (one) as a family also! If you live alone and are interested in gathering with others over food, there are many options to look into…friends, co-workers, neighbors, singles groups, dining groups, potlucks, etc. Another option is to create some traditions of your own when you are at home eating alone. Many people in multi-person families also eat alone at times for various reasons. I think the value of Cara’s article was the impact on young children, especially from a social perspective. In most circumstances, they should not be eating alone as they need an adult to prepare and serve food that is healthy for them. To enhance the child’s simple act of eating, sitting with the adult, having relaxing conversation away from technology, learning how to listen and talk with each other, is such a gift to give children, especially in the fast-paced world of today. Thank you for challenging me to do some research on dining alone and explore what the literature says. As we live longer and have more choice in lifestyles, many people will live alone at some point in their life. I’d like to know that their dining experiences are also rich and rewarding!
Thank you for your important message. You are right, there are lots of ways to eat healthy and enjoy mealtime whether you are eating alone or with others. The blog was written especially to encourage families with children to eat together often as this is known to be an important factor in obesity prevention. The messages about family meals is just one offered by the Arizona Nutrition Network. You might be interested in other Network messages like eating more fruits and vegetables or being physically active. You can find those messages at http://www.eatwellbewell.org. Be sure to take a look at the fast and easy recipes offered on the website too.
Thank you, I wish you continued sharing was a very nice work