How and where do you eat your meals?
Many of us now eat our meals on the go, or sat whilst watching TV on a tray. When was the last time you ate around a table?
When I was home educating one family I knew of didn’t have a dining table. They used to eat on the floor on cushions, like a picnic. They did eat together though. When my daughter was younger, we always tried to eat together at least once a day, usually the evening meal, around a table, and then often lunch or breakfast too. I used to enjoy setting the table with my girl and putting out cutlery and glasses. If the weather was nice we’d use the garden table and chairs and sometimes we’d have a picnic too.
At my parents, they love to have dinners with guests. We recently had my daughter’s aunt and uncle visit from Canada and it was so nice to sit around the table together and chat. We vary in our family habits nowadays days between sitting at the table or having laptrays to watch Pointless, depending on how tired everyone is but mostly we have at the table meals. I prefer the meals at the table as it’s a good way to learn about what everyone has been doing in the day and connect. As the mother to a teenager I feel that it’s really important to hold conversations with my child to learn about what has been going on at school or other parts of her life. It stops us being strangers as our lives diverge.
Studies show lots of benefits from eating together. Plus a regular mealtime is also beneficial. Children in particular increase their vocabulary and make larger cognitive advancements through dinner table conversation. Eating together around a table has also been shown to help reduce anxiety and improve mood.
So back to my question of when was the last time you ate at a table. If the last time was a while ago then how about setting it as a goal to do so within the next 7 days. Organise your tableware and cutlery, set your place/s and even bring a candle or a little plant or flower display to where you are eating. Place a napkin, bring a jug of water or ensure you have a big glass of water. If you live alone is there anyone you can invite over? Think of an easy menu that doesn’t involve too much tidying away after so that you can enjoy more of your time.
It’s a good to chew slowly and saviour every bite of your meal for optimising digestion. Not rushing really helps.
Elizabeth Plant is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and also works as a massage therapist and reflexologist. She’s an author of several books and is available for consultation at her website at http://www.elizabethplant.co.uk.