And no, I am not referring to the magazine (or the website), but rather just that, “Eating Well”. Eating healthy is only one part, one needs to eat well as part of eating healthy. Life, to which eating is rather important, is too short to live on carrot sticks, celery and plain yogurt. Well, at least my life is too short to live on that. It is also how you eat…do you sit in front of the TV to eat? Or do you gather your loved ones or your housemates and share a meal around the table? Growing up, we almost always ate together at suppertime. And when I think back to my fondest memories, so many of them are of the table. In my family, folks have been known to sit down to Sunday dinner at 6:30 or 7pm and still be there at midnight. Not necessarily still eating, (although you get the occasional person who goes back for that second piece of dessert while the argument gets a little too heated, or they are feeling like they have been sitting too long). And it didn’t matter whose house you were at, my Auntie’s , my grandparents, my Dad’s or my Mum’s. The party was at the table and in the kitchen. I remember when my sister and I were young (likely 3 and 6 or maybe 4 and 7), and of course, we had been excused from the table to go and play. We found “Aunty Hilda” in the kitchen (my grandmother’s sister). I guess she had excused herself to the kitchen for a bit. I don’t remember what we had done or said, but she thought that it was so funny. She started to laugh, and she laughed and laughed and then she started to snort. Well, all three of us thought that was just hilarious! The more we laughed, the more she laughed, and the more she laughed, the more she snorted. I have tears in my eyes right now, just thinking about it. And, of course, we were able to enjoy this little exchange, because everyone else was engrossed in whatever was going on at the table. I remember the loud din of the voices at the long table in the dining room right next to the kitchen. How every so often one or two voices would rise above the others, when someone was trying to get their point across. There was so much to learn around that table. Sometimes what you learned was when was a good time to be quiet . As I got older, I learned that if I was quiet, I would get to stay at the table long after I would have normally been excused. This would lend itself to listening in on all sorts of grown up conversation.
Gathering around the table for a meal helps children to eat well. The conversation and connecting with family after a day away from each other keeps everyone at the table, and if you are sitting at the table and everyone else is eating what is in front of them, why not eat some too? I has been my experience with my own children when they were very young (as they are only 7 and 9 now) that once they could join in the conversation at the table, the eating slowly ceased to be a battleground. And one day, I realised that we had gotten through a meal of chicken curry and rice and salad, and the food was gone, and no one had been excused from the table early for their behaviour and I didn’t have indigestion. Peace! Of course, not every meal was like that, and it still isn’t, but we are getting there.
Here are some nutrition experts’ thoughts and suggestions on helping your children to eat well: Today’s Parent
Good food brings people to the table, and eating well, involves more than just the food. The sharing of the preparation of the meal, and then the eating of it, and of course, the people sharing the food and themselves with each other.
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Another A to Z blog challenge link: The Eagle’s Aerial Perspective