Hidden benefits behind family dinners revealed
Still have time for Sunday supper?
Some of our happiest memories spring from our childhood and are often wrapped in sweet aromas of home cooking. Sunday supper was a big deal back in the day. It often brought together three generations where grandma and mom fussed around a meaty sauce while children played outside until being called to the table by their hungry dads.
Sunday supper was not just a mandatory family gathering, it was a ritual in many households. With each family sticking to their own mealtime traditions.
Mealtime traditions have changed, we now spend less time at home
Today, modern families find it hard to get everyone together around the same table due to difficulty in scheduling, kids sports practices and other obligations. And while moving across borders has never been easier it has also meant that some of us don’t have the luxury of inviting grandma over for dinner anymore. It often takes months of planning and coordination.
Recent studies have revealed that 70% of meals are now eaten outside of the home, with 20% eaten behind a car wheel. What’s more alarming is that less than 33% of American families are finding the time to eat more than two meal a week together. [Ed note: More information can be found here].
When we share a meal it isn’t just hunger that we bring to the table we have emotional, social, and spiritual needs - all of which can be fed at a shared family table.
Go tech-free during dinner
One key benefit of eating together is that the whole family can get a break from technology. Yes, we are talking mobile phone ban here! In 2017 a study by Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University revealed that 8th graders who are frequent users of social media have a 27% higher risk of depression. So going technology free during dinner is encouraged and a good habit to instil into your little ones.
Go fuss-free and keep it simple
Another thing to remember is that family meals can be kept simple. So if you are short on time don’t worry and make it work for your current situation.
When we spoke to food writer and blogger Monica Giustina she mentioned that meals together can work anywhere so don’t limit yourself to just the inside of your house. Summer is perfect for picnics and BBQs in the garden. Monica's tip was to create different fillings and sauces in advance, pop them in the fridge and consume within a few days. All you will need to do is get the whole family outside and watch those sandwich masterpieces come to life. For more mealtime inspiration check out Monica's book 'Cucina Slow'.
Home-cooked meals are better for your family
Having 3 meals a week as a family has been linked to positive trends in a child’s nutrition and emotional health, often than not when children eat with parents they are likely to eat more fruit and drink less soda. Choosing seasonal veg and fruit to cook with is a great way of getting the best out of local produce at the time, it also means that each season you have something new to experiment with.
The secret sauce for your next meal together
It might come as a surprise but the secret sauce to a family meal is not food - it is the connection we make with our loved ones. A dinner table is just a tool which enables us to share worries, receive advice and unwind after a stressful week. Perhaps it's time to get your table linen ready...