On Saturday mornings, I enjoy an hour of yoga at my local studio, head across the street for a designer cookie and cup of coffee, then walk home through my lovely neighbourhood. This 2-hour (!) bit of “me time” has become an important part of my week. A ritual that celebrates who I am and makes me feel good.
This got me thinking about the other rituals in family life that make us feel good and celebrate who we are. In times not long past, the family dinner was one of these rituals. Today, however, with our busy schedules, extracurricular activities, and no shortage of fast food restaurants, there isn’t always a lot of time left for family activities, including sharing meals around the table.
I know that we’re all squeezed for time, but there are lots of compelling reasons to slow down, unplug, and eat as a family.
A little research
Research from South University found that the benefits of spending quality, family time together include creating strong emotional bonds and improving family communication.
Further, The Atlantic reports that children who eat with their families at least 5 days a week are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. The study also found that these children ate healthier, did better in school, were less likely to cut class, and had closer relationships with their parents.
But we’re so busy!
You don’t have to be June Cleaver or Martha Stewart to get a quick, healthy meal on the table. Try batch cooking on the weekend, or double-up and freeze whenever you cook. Find a few simple, easy recipes and have them be your “go to” meals on busy days. Divide the work of meal making and clean-up among family members. Enjoy takeout together every now and then. Embrace the bagged salad and pre-chopped veggies!
Another option is to get help from a service like SupperWorks to do the time-consuming shopping, meal prep and cleanup so you can stock up on hand-made, oven-ready, freezeable meals.
When you make the family meal a priority – a ritual – you can make any day special and create a consistent, safe place for to share the experiences, challenges and triumphs of the day, while relaxing and growing closer.
Joni Lien (B.A, MSW) is the proud co-founder of SupperWorks and has been helping busy people eat well since 2005.
Stacey Sherwood is a Nutrition Specialist and Franchise Owner and SupperWorks Ancaster.