Clear off those dining room tables, October is Eat Better, Eat Together month!
Research has shown that when families eat together, they tend to eat more well-balanced meals. Healthy nutrition is one of the four core areas that guide our work. We believe it is important to introduce healthy eating and drinking to our children at a young age; starting at birth with breastfeeding. Eating together starts with our mothers at birth. That special bond is the beginning of a path that leads to healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
For Native families and communities, it’s a part of our culture to gather for meals. It’s inherent in us to want to sit down, eat and have conversations with one another. However, with more school, work and extracurricular activities many of us are skipping the table setting and opting for fast food in the car on our way to the next activity.
For the month of October, we are calling on Native families and communities to focus on preparing and eating more meals together as a family.
Get the family involved
One way to encourage the whole family to participate is to get everyone involved by cooking together. Youth especially enjoy being on hands on at meal time, having youth involved in preparing the food makes them more likely to try it! Try assembling a salad with your children, focusing on incorporating 1-2 locally grown vegetables not typically on your list.
Eat meals at the table
Take meals back to the table and limit distractions from electronics. TV’s, phones and tablets are all distractions that can take our attention away from the meal and cause us to eat more. They can also take away from meaningful conversations with our relatives.
Try new recipes
Introducing new recipes to the family will spark interest! Sometimes we get stuck in a cycle of staple meals. Try incorporating one new meal during each week of October.
Make it a habit
Eating all meals together isn’t realistic. If your family schedules are in conflict busy during the week, pick a day on the weekend for the family meal. Once a day is selected that works best for everyone, it’ll be something everyone looks forward to.
Eating together has been shown to not only benefit our nutritional health but also our mental and emotional health.