In our modern culture, we don’t become healthy by default; it takes a conscious decision to prioritize health. Living a healthy lifestyle is a choice we live out each day in the countless decisions we make. No matter how small or seemingly unimportant they may be, if we do them day after day after day, they become capable of shifting our health, for better or worse.
If you are like me, you want to keep it simple when it comes to healthy habits so it is easy to maintain over time. I like consistency, even in the ever-changing landscape of my busy life.
One simple routine that has the power to dramatically improve the health of a family is time spent sharing meals.
We have plenty of evidence to help us understand the amazing benefits of routinely eating as family—reduced anxiety, reduced issues in relationships, less problems in school, less likely to engage in unsafe behaviors, etc. Yet, despite all of this wisdom from research, we find many families don’t make this a regular part of their schedule.
As we head into fall, the momentum picks up with school in full swing and fall sports having started, and the calendar naturally seems to fill up fast. It becomes all too easy to slip into the “too busy” mindset and miss the opportunity for a dinner routine.
We often kick off the dinner routine by inviting our kids into the kitchen with us, prepping parts of the meal or setting the dinner table together.
This time spent has served in helping foster creativity in the kitchen, encouraging tastings of new foods prepped and time to educate my family on nutrition and basic cooking.
I can pass along the routine that was so prevalent during my upbringing. My family made it a priority to eat together and I remember those meals still to this day and those memories are priceless…😊.
We don’t make family meals happen every night, but we try as often as our schedules will allow. We set the intention; we write out the dinners for the week (so that we keep it real and realistic to what our time-frames will allow).
We may be eating leftovers, breakfast for dinner or “picnic style” meals, but no matter what is being served, the routine of making meals a family affair is the one that everyone benefits from, now and for many decades to come!
P.S. As a bonus at dinnertime, we do a game lovingly called “happy-crappy”, we each get a turn to talk about our day and practice listening to one another with respect.
NEED HELP WITH NUTRITION??
Schedule a free 15-minute nutrition strategy session by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also connect with Haley as “Vancouver Dietitian” on Facebook.
Haley & VWS Team