Family game nights, banishment of the television set, limited electronic access, and intense scheduling are all things people think they need to do to build and nurture a close-knit family structure, but what if I told you that these things were not the case?
What if I told you that the family dynamic you want is more easily attainable and administrable than any of these things? I’m talking about family time around the dinner table. Yes, the kind where everyone sits around the table to enjoy a meal at the conclusion of each day. The kind where everyone is present; where everyone can be seen and heard all at the same time. This isn’t a fictitious scenario created by the TV & Film industry, I’m talking about families just like yours and mine opting out of a meal in front of the television or without their phone in their hand to enjoy quality time with one another.
Family dinners are worth so much more than what people tend to assume. Gone are the days that communal dinners were for convenience. They bring families closer together, encouraging conversation, communication, and building trust. Family is the sacred center of life for families of all different races, backgrounds, and religions across the globe, a true testament to how impactful our relatives really are. You don’t get to choose your family, but you do get to choose your relationship with them, and most everyone would agree that a positive one is better than a negative one. Family dinners can be a great catalyst to build strong family bonds.
The dinner table was not only a place to eat, but a place to reflect upon everyone’s daily lives, voice opinions in a safe environment, and to enjoy the company of everyone around the table.
Between freeway traffic and driving the kids to practice, people in this day in age seem to be finding themselves in a time crunch more often than not. It is tempting at times to give in to the convenience of drive-thrus and dollar menus, however, be forewarned: Eating out, and even eating alone, has the potential to hinder your weight loss journey tremendously.
There is irrefutable evidence that family dinners reap mammoth physical and psychological benefits for all parties involved, so much so that it may be hard to resisthaving family dinners after finding out! It is important to remind yourself that your journey at Red Mountain Weight Loss is not only concerning weight, but lifestyle as well.
The biggest benefit to an individual trying to lose weight is that home-cooked meals have the power of portion control and therefore caloric intake. Many people struggle with the obligation to stuff themselves by finishing off that oversized burger or munching on complimentary chips and side of fries, even after hunger has been relieved, just because they don’t want food to go to waste.
Self-serving meals has the potential to decrease caloric intake by up to 60%, as restaurants tend to supersize meal portions, and in turn waistlines as well. Meal preparation is crucial to stay on track with your weight loss goals. It is rare that restaurants will list every ingredient used in a single dish on the menu, so the healthiest (and safest) route to take is to dine in the comfort of your own home with the company of family, who have the opportunity to act as positive reinforcement as well as conversational partners.
Having others present to hold you accountable is proven to keep individuals engaged and responsible in their choices as they pertain to goals. Involving a third party will incentivize weight loss or maintenance, as there is someone other than yourself that you have the potential to impress with regular updates. Think of yourself as a role model for the rest of the family – it would be hypocritical to endorse healthy living without being able to set a good example. Showcasing healthy food options and making balanced meal choices will get the whole family living the Red Mountain Way in no time.
The benefits of family meals do not stop at individual health. Studies show that children who take part in family dinners are far less likely to engage in truant behavior, and are 40% more likely to receive A’s in school than their peers who dine solo. Along similar lines, research has also shown that dinnertime conversation is more beneficial than reading young children books, boosting their knowledge of “rare words” by 86%. Also, it is no surprise that families that engage in families dinner reported that they felt family dinners were beneficial to family dynamic.
With big brands dishing massive budgets towards marketing and advertising our kids are all at risk for trading in their healthy breakfast & lunches for the convenience of the “dollar menu.” Marketing tactics of these mega companies promote that the deal is worth the caloric intake with their irresistible imagery and celebrity endorsement. The taglines and bright logos are well thought through plans of attack by branding professionals to take over your subconscious to buy that specific meal because it’s “Mmm Mmm Good” or because it’s in the hands of a Kardashian sister. Implementing a dedicated safe place in your home, such as the dinner table, will set a standard for your children and your children’s children that healthy living is important.
If anything, family dinner is a great opportunity to get to know everyone just a little bit better. Sometimes, we forget that there are people other than ourselves, and at the table is a great opportunity to wind down and let out frustrations or share accomplishments and milestones. It is important to remind ourselves that the home is not just a place to sleep at night, but a place to nurture relationships among one another. Consider making it one of your goals to hold healthy family dinners on a more regular basis, even if you do it already. There really is no downside!