Friday, January 20, 2012
Around the dinner table
Do you eat dinner at the table, with the TV off, as a family? Did you do that growing up? Most of my life, we sat down to the table as a family, ate a homemade meal, talked, laughed, and we all stayed at the table until dinnertime was over. I remember at one point there was a star chart where we got a star for all staying at the table and not getting up for anything . . . I think after weeks and weeks, the reward was our pet bunnies.
As a parent, I have a new appreciation for what my mom did to make all those meals and the effort it takes to get a family to all sit at the table. I know I've written before that planning is half the battle, but it's also the little things like buckling squirmy Little into a booster seat (which she's not a fan of) to help her get into the habit of family dinner and not giving in to the temptation to feed the kids at the counter and then eat our own quiet dinner at 8pm when they're in bed. We do this sometimes, but I don't like it to be our norm that the kids and adults eat separately.
This quarter I get home from work at about 7pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. We've mostly been eating soup & salad or leftovers on those nights but I got the bright idea of putting Big & Daddy up to the task of cooking together. Their first endeavor was homemade pizzas; dinner was delicious and I loved coming home and not having to cook! One thing that recently reinforced my commitment to the family dinner table was an article by Mark Hyman on the Huffington Post. It's common sense that you'll save money and gain less weight if you cook your own food at home but there are other advantages that are pretty cool.
For you parents out there, here's an inspiring excerpt: "Research shows that children who have regular meals with their parents do better in every way, from better grades, to healthier relationships, to staying out of trouble. They are 42 percent less likely to drink, 50 percent less likely to smoke and 66 percent less like to smoke marijuana. Regular family dinners protect girls from bulimia, anorexia, and diet pills. Family dinners also reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. In a study on household routines and obesity in U.S. preschool-aged children, it was shown that kids as young as four have a lower risk of obesity if they eat regular family dinners, have enough sleep, and don't watch TV on weekdays."