The Power of Breaking BreadAugust 2, 2013
Whether you eat three square meals a day or snack between your meals, each meal is a chance to nourish your body and nourish the connections between you and your family and friends. Oftentimes we eat a granola bar on the go for breakfast, followed by a quick drive-thru meal on the way to soccer practice or takeout on the way home after a late meeting. While these meals may satisfy our hunger for food, they do not give us the complete nourishment that our body and soul requires.
When you commit to making your meals a priority, you will begin to understand the full power of breaking bread with friends and family. By incorporating family meals into your daily routine, you will reap many benefits that will continue to nourish future generations. With dedication and a little family cooperation, a daily family meal can grace your table.
You may find yourself making excuses at why a family meal won’t work with your schedule. However, if you expand your thinking, you’ll find that enjoying a meal with your friends and family is a more flexible event than you ever thought possible. Do your children have afterschool activities that keep you carpooling through the dinner hour? Try a family breakfast. Do you and your spouse work opposite shifts and pass each other on the way through the door? Set aside some weekend time for a leisurely brunch or a relaxing dinner that lasts long into the evening. Get creative and find a solution that brings your family to the table on a regular basis.
The Benefits of a Family Meal
Health Benefits—Whether you’re enjoying breakfast, lunch or dinner at the family table, you’ll find that it makes you get more creative in the kitchen. By cooking at home with fresh ingredients, your family will live a healthier life and reduce the risk of obesity and other chronic diseases. One study even revealed that children who eat regular meals with the family are more likely to enjoy eating a colorful variety of vegetables and fruits well into adulthood.
Behavioral Benefits—Everyone wants to give their children the best start in life to set them up for a life of success in school and other ventures. There have been numerous studies that discovered children who regularly eat with the family do better academically and have fewer serious discipline problems. Additionally, sitting at the family table will help your child practice their manners in a comfortable and safe setting where you can provide gentle corrections depending on their developmental stage.
Family Benefits—By sitting at the family table and minimizing distractions during the meal, you will give your family a chance to talk to each other. Whether you talk about your day, headlines in the news or just silly conversations that end in giggles and laughter, this gives you a chance to connect with the people who matter most in your life.
While a family meal may require some time and effort, the payoff will be seen during each and every meal, as well as far into the future. The daily ritual of breaking bread will become the ritual that carries your family into the future.