Gather for Meals and Get More Than Food
As humans, we are social creatures seeking genuine connection. We gather, meet, bond and share in search of some deeper meaning or purpose. It is often something we crave in an unconscious way. It can serve as a means to facilitate creative expression and bring joy and fulfillment into encounters of all kinds.
The idea of sitting down to a meal is something that seems almost distant in our fast-paced culture. It can be even more of a struggle to find a moment when those you care about most can be in the room at the same time. But what if we’re missing out on something pivotal – teachable moments, laughter, camaraderie, love? And then there’s the meal itself -- an opportunity for everyone to nourish their bodies and minds. The meal we so often speed through and take for granted stands to create a more deliberate relationship with food and an appreciation for the process of its preparation.
Evidence links shared meals with a world of positive outcomes for all involved. Some of the metrics seen with significant evidence include:
Improved dietary quality
Better weight status
Less use of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol among teens
Less disordered eating
While there are many obstacles to gathering for a meal, making it a priority can go a long way. It doesn’t have to be a Thanksgiving-style sit down meal but can be as simple as cooking dinner with a friend. Regardless of setting, taking time away from our perpetually full schedules and looking up from our phones to share in nature’s bounty might just be the slice of paradise we need.
Sources: 1. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 2. Pediatrics 3. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University 4. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine 5. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior