I pulled up to the doctor’s office this morning with Sophia, our youngest daughter.
She had a basic "Well Check" visit.
We were the second car in the parking lot…
…and when I got out, I saw a dad and his daughter in the front of the car next to us eating their breakfast.
They had a bag of McDonald’s and a Starbucks. I assume it wasn’t coffee, as she looked to be around 6 or so …
… maybe hot chocolate?
There were actually a lot of things about that that I wouldn’t recommend.
But let’s look at the positive.
I’m glad she was eating SOMETHING before school (she had a uniform on, so that was likely their next stop).
Certainly not the best choices, with the high fat, fiber free breakfast and sugar bomb hot chocolate, but maybe this was their once a month "treat" they enjoy together.
Not my place to assume. I DID like they were eating together. Would I have preferred it around the kitchen table? Sure … but that’s neither here, nor there and I don’t know a thing about their situation.
Anyhow, it made me think about a recent report I saw from Welch’s called the "State of the American Family: Mealtime a Top Priority."
We make it a priority in our house. Now, granted, our kids are younger so it’s less of a challenge than for those who have kids in 45 different activities, but that doesn’t make it any less of a priority. Our goal with starting this now, is so that it is a habit and is "the norm" even as all our lives get busier. And if you don’t have kids but do have a spouse or significant other, this is important for you, too.
Fortunately and, I’ll be honest, surprisingly, this report that surveyed nearly 900 people, found that family dinners are alive and kicking with most families reporting they eat dinner together most nights of the week. More specifically, 75% say they eat together four or more nights and 34% eat together every night.
The question is WHY is this so important?
Does it really make a difference?
One recent study showed that even just sitting down for a few more minutes each night could help stabilize body weight. That’s crazy. JUST a few more minutes each night.
Outside of body weight it also helps improve communication, models manners, decreases drug and alcohol use, improve grades … and, again, helps manage body weight.
But enough of the benefits, HOW can you make this happen with your busy life?
Though it may be a goal to hit all meals, 7 days of the week, let’s be realistic.
These 3 Tips will help you Make Family Meal Time a Top Priority.
- Plan 4 days each week to eat together as a start and have everyone chip in to make it happen.
- Find a recipe everyone likes — if cooking isn’t your thing, pick up a book. Here’s one a trusted friend wrote who has a little one herself, so knows what it’s like to feed a family.
- Plan ahead. Know what you’re going to make before 5 PM when everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off. We do this by making a menu for the week each Sunday and planning for some cooking days and some leftover days within the week.
And while this isn’t a tip, per se, to make things easier … PLEASE turn off electronics during this time. "Family" dinner time isn’t a time to be distracted by TV, phones, texting or anything else. That defeats the purpose of what we’re after.
Fuel your greatness and let us know how you do on the family meal time!
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