So, when it comes to family dinner, I am trying to slow down.
Family dinners are important. Yes, they can be stressful to plan out when you have two working parents and limited time in your evening schedule, but they can be accomplished. And when you do have them regularly, studies show that children are less likely to be overweight and feel more connected to their family.
But, here's the catch. If you clicked that link above, you'll know that to get all those benefits, you have to have a meal that lasts longer than 20 minutes. So here are the things I need to work on to slow mealtime down:
- More prep ahead of time. I try to chop and prep recipes on the weekend, because as soon as I get home from work, I start cooking. All of my racing around the kitchen to get the meal made puts me in a racing mindset. Less work to do while cooking, gives me a moment to catch my breath.
- Take a moment before eating. I like my food hot. Like, really hot. But maybe I need to let my food cool a bit before digging in. It'll still be hot, just not scalding, and my patience to eat will help lengthen the meal.
- Encourage talk. I am one of those people who likes to ask how everyone's day was at the dinner table. Then I try to tell stories from my own day. They aren't earth-shattering or always funny, but they are pieces of the life I live away from my family. I am interested in hearing how everyone spends their day.
- Draw out the mealtime with a game. I'm not encouraging anyone to play with their food. Rather, if we eat a meal quickly, maybe we should stay seated at the table and play a game or cards or a board game to keep the theme of togetherness going.