Whether you live alone, with a spouse, or have oodles of kids, pulling together an evening meal requires planning and consideration. The first and most important thing to determine is the time at which the meal will be served. Once this time is set and regularly adhered to, many other benefits come into play.
With a set dining schedule, you’re likely to find yourself enamored with:
Healthy options. Kids who eat with their families regularly tend to have healthier eating patterns. They consume fewer sodas, fried foods and saturated fat, and tend to consume more fruits and vegetables, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Increased communication skills. When you eat as a family, your opportunities for communication are likely to improve. A “Family Dinner Experiment” conducted by Oprah Winfrey in 1993 challenged five families to eat dinner together every night for a month, for at least 30 minutes. At first, the families found it challenging but by the end of the study, they wanted to continue the practice! The biggest surprise for the parents was “how much their children treasured the dependable time with their parents at the table”.
Routines make you feel happier. Researchers at Syracuse University found that family routines such as eating dinner together nightly are associated with happier marriages, improved children’s health, and stronger family ties.
Finally, while eating with others – family, friends or colleagues – it’s important to remember the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Done Unto You. At dinner, avoid excessive gossip and sharing of secrets. Put your mobile phones away for the entirety of dinner. Try not to make fun of people, and avoid making up stories. When you set an example and focus on what you want to see in the world (instead of complaining about what you don’t see), you’ll find it easier to actualize the vision you are seeking.
And that can all start with your dinner, at a set dinnertime!
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