Sunday, December 28, 2008
Posted by Peter M
We're at the cusp of two years...2008 is all but history and 2009 is like a blank canvass, waiting to be coloured, brushed and stamped with your own signature.
Besides the usual New Year's resolutions of improving my diet, exercising more and being ever-nice to the people in my life, I have a new goal to pursue.
I will organize and arrange meals where the family eats together. I've heard and read on many occasions in the media that the health and well-being of a family hinges on whether or not they eat together.
I don't buy this notion that life's too busy for a family to dine together. Rather, I think we are all too pre-occupied with other interests in our life that deem dining together as a secondary goal or for some, a drag.
I've always enjoyed the banter, discussing food, world and local issues over the dinner table. When the whole family is present at the dinner table, this food and chat dynamic is at its best.
Ask your daughter to make it on time for dinner. Let her know it's important to you. I know it's hard to eat as a family each and every day but perhaps more days supping together can be the new goal.
Ask Junior to drop the X-Box, come down from the multi-media fantasy room known as the bedroom and have a good'ole discussion and meal over dinner. Family's that dine together, stick together.
According to a Harvard Study (2000), families that ate together actually ate more healthily and that children got a double benefit by also doing better in their studies! Remember, your sons & daughters will also find themselves away in College studying or moving out on their own.
Ask then to help with the meal preparation, setting the table and helping with the clean-up and dishes. You're empowering them with the most basic of life skills.
One of the biggest obstacles to eating together as a family has to be the menu itself, ie your child (or children) will come up with an excuse if the menu isn't to their liking.
The solution to this is to make dishes where substitutions can easily be made. Another is to cook on weekends, double-up on favourite meals and freezing them just in case your kids balk at Tuesday Night's Liver..."Oh, I have spaghetti & meatballs in the freezer and we're all having salad. We'd really like you to be home for dinner"!
You'll be amazed at how quickly kids change their mind when the menu is to their liking.
Family meals should be an exchange of ideas, it's a great way to sneak in "family meetings". I don't my family has ever had a formal family meeting...the dinner table was the forum.
Turn off the TV, give the video games a rest, cell phones, PDA's and computers can wait...eating as a family is paramount and it's the best platform to strenghen family ties and pass on cultural traditions.
Have a wonderful holiday season, health & happiness in 2009!
This post was written by Peter Minakis
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