Whether it’s dance class, that late meeting, carpool duty or even just crawling through traffic, families have never been busier. That jam-packed lifestyle can make eating together a challenge. As I was heading to visit GetJoyfull friend, fellow mom and local blogger Kari Skelton, I am reminded just how precious family moments spent around the table truly are. Kari, her husband Ryan and their little man Wyatt are the perfect trio (Oops, almost forgot their fur baby, Mo. Foursome!). When they had asked for a little insight to help them save time in the kitchen, spare a little bit of sanity when it comes to mealtime, and revive their weekly meal routine, Cela and I were more than happy to pop over for a bit of cooking and conversation.
In the first of this two-part GetJoyfull Reflections feature I thought I would share just a few of the reasons why it’s important for families to make the time to eat together. Our busy lives make it tough to pull off, but the payoff is well worth a little bit of planning and effort.
Why we should eat together:
Families that eat together, eat better.
Eating as a family improves the quality of food we eat. When families eat together they colour their plates with more vegetables and fruits. When your little one sees you enjoying vegetables, they’re more likely to take a brave bite. They might not be a veggie-lover overnight, but with your role modeling they will eventually surprise you!
Families that eat together, stay connected.
Good memories and traditions formed during mealtime stay with kids for a lifetime. I fondly remember the warm comfort of my mom’s homemade rice pudding. Now, I see that happiness in my Cela during our Saturday morning ritual of making ‘Purple Power Pancakes’ (For the batter, blend: oats, egg whites, Greek yogurt, cinnamon, baking powder and blueberries). Her joy is less about the food, and more about time spent connecting.
Families that eat together, do better.
Kids that eat together with their families actually do better in school. Encouraging your kids to join you in the kitchen helps them build their self-esteem, learn math skills, and practice cooperation. The benefits are worth the extra clean up. Trust me. I’ll never forget Cela’s face when she mastered the one-handed egg crack, or Remi’s “blueberry face,” at 7-months, happily feeding himself with a spoon.
Families that eat together, talk more.
Eating together gives young kids the opportunity to learn new words, and practice their communication skills. Try your best to keep devices off during meals. To spark disscussion try keeping a jar of Conversation Starters on the dinner table to help guide talk away from food and towards family. Family meals can be a wonderful time to share stories and build a ritual of positive conversations.
Families that eat together, save more.
When we plan our grocery list with family meals in mind we can transfer these savings into fun family outings like visiting the Edmonton Corn Maze, or hosting a neighbourhood pumpkin carving party. When we stick to a well-planned grocery list we buy what we need vs. what we think we need, and avoid food waste.
Keep an eye on our blog this week as we visit with Kari Skelton and her family. We’ll share family-friendly recipes and chat about how to solve some of the challenges families face at mealtime.
*Adapted from “Eat Together.”
*Not a sponsored post.