5 ways family meals can change your life
Sharing a meal isn't just a way to fuel up together - here are five ways family meals can actually change your life.
It’s getting dark outside, and everyone’s tired after a long day -- but then, there’s that magic moment when you all sit down to enjoy a meal together. What is it about sharing a meal that can make you feel so contented? Here are five ways family meals make everything better.
Eating together helps boost well-being:
There’s a growing body of research that shows that eating a meal together - even if it’s as simple as sandwiches - can actually boost everyone’s well-being. Sitting down for meals together can be a way to reinforce good feelings like gratitude, whether you practice that by sharing things you’re grateful for, or just by being together and chatting about your day. There’s also some evidence that cooking together can build happiness in other ways: cooking can develop your confidence, and it requires so much of your attention that it literally distracts your brain from negative thoughts. To read more about family meals and well-being, check out this post from our archives.
Family meals can make you a better planner:
And having a plan can help your week go more smoothly! There are lots of different ways to meal plan. For some families, spending one evening a week flipping through cookbooks is a great way to find interesting new recipes to try, and to make a menu for the week. For many families, meal planning might look a little more like putting the same basic meals on rotation, but then livening it up with a new recipe every so often. We’ve got lots of ideas for you here on how to rock a meal plan, and how to make leftovers work for your family (and the planet!)
Enjoying a meal together is good fun:
Meals don’t have to be formal affairs in order to be a wonderful way for families to re-connect, and we’ve got lots of ideas for you to help shake things up. Try these build-your-own dinners (calling all Lego fans!), rainy-day favourites, or these hands-on meal ideas. Do you have a kid who loves animals? Try out these fun snack ideas and learn more about how animals in BC eat (spoiler: they need balanced diets, just like us!). Cooking together can be a great way to spend quality time together during a busy week - don’t forget to check out our post on 6 easy ways to introduce your child to cooking this fall if you need ideas to help get your smaller chefs involved.
Shared meals have social benefits:
While it's hard to believe it when your toddler throws their plate on the floor, the truth is that regularly sharing meals together has big social benefits for parents and kids. When we interviewed sports doctor and Feed Zone cookbook author Dr Allen Lim, he explained: “There's strong evidence that kids who eat regularly with their families do much better in life. They have lower rates of depression, they do better in school, they have lower rates of risky behaviour, and they're healthier. Interestingly, the protective effect of eating together is stronger in girls than it is in boys.” You can read our whole interview with Dr. Lim here, along with the amazing story of how he discovered that when he got his Tour de France bicycle team involved in cooking and eating together, they actually performed better as athletes.
Help your kids become happier eaters:
Even on the nights when dinner feels like a struggle, sitting down to eat together is key to helping any kid become a happier eater. We talked to eating expert Ellyn Satter about how to eat well (even when you’re on the go!) and we’ve got lots of ideas for how to encourage kids to expand their taste horizons through cooking and eating together. To get you further inspired, we’re sharing delicious autumn dinner recipes that are quick and easy, plus our guide to breakfasts that stick -- we’ve got you covered, even if you only have 5 minutes to make breakfast.