The majority of the time when I ask people, “What is your #1 priority?” they answer, “Family.” Yet most quickly admit that being together and staying connected can be a challenge in our frenetic lives.
Throughout history, family mealtime was the predominant occasion to communicate and interact. These days, meals together are often infrequent and brief. One study reported that the average family mealtime lasts 20 minutes, though the benefits for children include better grades, lower body weight, lower cigarette and alcohol use, and better mental health. Kids or no kids, people who dine together have stronger relationships.
One study found that adding just 3 minutes to a meal lessened the risk of family members being overweight. I found that hard to believe until I added up 3 minutes a day x 30 days and came up with 1 1/2 hours of connection time!
So here are a few fun ways to make meals last longer:
- No eating in front of the TV. Sit together at the kitchen table.
- Placemats and napkins makes it seem special and family members stay longer.
- Involve family members in cooking and preparation. Working together to clean up extends conversations too.
- Turn off technology. No TV, phones, or other media interruptions.
- Consider serving the meal in courses, first one item, then the main course. They’ll stick around for dessert.
- Engage them in positive conversation. Play the Highs and Lows game, where each person shares the day’s ups and downs. Keep it fun. Save confrontations or hard topics for another time.
- Try “Here’s one thing I learned today” as a meal routine. Everyone shares, anything from the score of a ballgame to the mating habits of grizzly bears.
Meals together make healthy bodies, memories and relationships…great nourishment for the mind, body and spirit!
To learn how to create wellness programs for healthier, happier, less stressed, more engaged employees, visit SelfCare for HealthCare™. Contact me today to discuss implementing this powerful program at your facility. Interested in LeAnn Thieman’s keynote speaking, training and workshops? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.