Eating at the Table: Old Fashion Rules That Actually Have a Healthy Purpose

Are you aware that eating in front of a television can cause stress on your digestive system? How about checking your cell phone during meals?

Not that long ago families big and small sat at tables to eat. Always. So where and why did we go wrong? In the early 50’s tv dinners became a fad due to the increasing number of two income households. Moms came home tired and still needed to make dinner so why not a tv dinner? Then came the tv trays to accompany them. With this notion, we have watched the deterioration of our children’s health.

Our current generation is the first generation where the parents are expected to outlive their children (W.H.O. on diabetes). Now if that doesn’t scare you straight, I don’t know what will.

Time magazine says about a Rutgers study: “The data suggested that family mealtime has a wealth of health benefits, especially for children. Kids who ate more meals together with their families tended to eat more fruits, vegetables, fiber, calcium-rich foods, and vitamins, and ate less junk food.

Social improvements were also linked to frequency of family meals. Teens who ate at the family table more often were more likely to show fewer signs of depression and feel that their family was more supportive, compared with teens who dined less often at home.

Children in families who frequently shared meals also tended to have a lower body mass index than those who didn’t, although the research did not find a conclusive between family meals and obesity.

Researchers found also that it’s not just the time spent together or the act of consuming food simultaneously that matters. The qualities of the interactions are important as well. The data showed that families who spent time watching TV together or ate fast food out together did not have the same improved dietary intakes as families who ate meals together at home…“

How much more motivation do we really need to sit down with each other at the table? I hear from so many of my nutrition clients that they eat the majority of their meals in their car. I even had one tell me that he was “sitting so what’s the issue?”

Well, sir, the issue is that you are not focused on eating, the enjoyment of it, the flavors of it, how it is nurturing your body, and on top of it you are probably causing us traffic!!

Eating has been a social occasion since the beginning of time. Enjoying and staying relaxed during your meal, focusing on the meal itself will both ease your mind and boost your metabolism.

So the next time you and your brood are opening the fridge, stop, think, plan and all sit at the table together, discuss your day, your favorite flavors, and relish in the deliciousness of an old fashioned habit.

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