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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meals Are Everything! (well almost!)


"The meal is the essential act of life. It is the habitual ceremony, the long record of marriage, the school for behavior, the prelude to love. Among all peoples and in all times, every significant event in life - be it wedding, triumph, or birth - is marked by a meal or the sharing of food or drink. The meal is the emblem of civilization. What would one know of life as it should be lived or nights as they should be spent apart from meals."
James and Kay Salter - Meals are Everything

Isn't that a lovely thought? How often do you eat together with your family? Is your kitchen open and welcoming? With food to share for guest old and young? 

What makes a meal anyhow? Well really anything is a meal, from last nights cold pizza (for breakfast) to a full out Thanksgiving dinner. But what makes a meal appealing? Planning an appealing meal, nutritious meal is really just A+B+C and a little attention to aesthetics thrown in. 

You know - some veggies/fruit +starch+ protein + fat = a well balanced meal. To make it appealing think about variety:
  1. A few different colors is nice (unlike my yellow meal) - eating your colors is very important for health also!
  2. A few different textures - not all mushy or all crunchy.
  3. Different cooking styles - not all boiled or roasted or fried.
  4. Different types of food - veggies, fruit, a starch, protein, fats.
But remember "kiss"  KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY! Serve sides from the same ethnic group or tradition as the main dish - this is really important to my husband - me not so much! You want the sides to "compliment" the main dish.  There is a reason steak and potatoes just seem to go together! 

As far as health goes - the food should be as REAL as possible, full of healthy fats and then you decide -veggies, fruits, meats, legumes, beans, fish, whole grains to follow the variety rules above. 


Eating together with friends and family is a lost pleasure and one that we will regret (and many already do). 

I am very guilty of this - all of us going in different directions we are rarely all together. But I do have a couple tips  to help:

  • Eat a real breakfast together, if not daily but on weekends.
  • Fix meals that can be made mostly ahead so that at dinnertime (whenever that is) you can put it on the table with ease.
  • No TV, radio, electronic games allowed - human conversation only. Enjoy each other - learn about each others day. 
  • If you must eat in shifts try to be sure no one eats alone. Sit down with your teenager and drink a cup of tea or coffee while they eat. Visit with them. If your husband comes later than your young children can wait then have a dessert with daddy so they can still spend some of this time with him. Be flexible. 
  • Eat at home as often as is possible.
  • Invite friends over for lunch or brunch on the weekends. Cookout. Meet your neighbors. Have them over to drink a beer and eat some brats. Invite your children's friends to dinner, make homemade pizza.

There are plenty of studies that show the importance of family meals, below are a couple of the findings. - Join me in making it a priority!

Why Are Family Mealtimes Important?
By eating with your children, it is more likely that meals will be healthier and more balanced.
  • Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who rarely have family dinners are three-and-a-half times more likely to have abused prescription drugs or an illegal drug other than marijuana.
  • Girls who have five or more meals a week with their families are one-third less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits, which can range from skipping meals to full-fledged anorexia or abusing diet pills.
  • Parental influence and involvement is an important tool in preventing substance abuse. Regularly sitting down for a meal with your children is one way to connect with them and be involved with what is happening in their lives.    source
 I am well aware that this is not always possible and is often an ideal - but if we truly try and give it a priority in our lives not only will we benefit personally but so will our society!

So, make your meals with REAL food, offer variety, and eat it with someone!

Linking this to Two for Tuesdays.
t4toriginalFCC


I am linking this to Relax and Surf Sundays!

11 comments:

  1. Christy! I LOVE this article and want to share it on my thoughts on friday because I think it is SOOO very important for families to share meals together! We make SURE we eat together as much as possible, even if it means making dinner time flexible. I agree with all your rules and coming from a mom of a big family like YOU I know they are tried and truely tested rules for family happiness! Whooo hoo! Thanks for hosting and posting on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! :) Alex@amoderatelife

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  2. My family ALWAYS ate dinner together. It was non-negotiable. And my siblings and I turned out pretty well. No drugs, moderate alcohol, no teen pregnancies :P And we're all still really close. Which I think is the most important part.

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  3. What a great article Christy. I definitely think it's important to eat together. My favorite parts of the days are mealtimes with my boys, hubby included :)

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  4. Yup, totally, totally true! Sitting down with the family and eating a meal is something I've always counted as important...awesome post for 24T ;) (ps...go Colts!!)

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  5. I love this post, Christy, because I believe it's so critical to share meals with loved ones - whoever that may be. My own kitchen is open every night, and I routinely have the neighbors and their kids join mealtime.

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  6. @Alex - thanks! I agree it is so important to eat together! Thanks for sharing this with your thoughts on Friday!
    @Joanne - closeness with your siblings even as grownups is a great gift! Eating together HAD to help!
    @ Diana - I agree, one of the main reason I love to make a meal is to share it with my family!
    @ Heather - I find it is so important too! Oh and GO COLTS!!!!
    @Butter - I wish we were your neighbors! How generous and hospitable you are!

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  7. Great post - I absolutely agree with every single word. Thanks so much for sharing it.
    Sue

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  8. I am your newest follower. I hope you can follow back http://mylifeadventurebyme.blogspot.com/.
    God Bless,
    Shelley

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  9. Found you on one of the Sunday Follows. I'm your newest follower on your super awesome blog! I'll be back (in my best Arnold voice).

    KyAnn

    http://checketts-myers-clan.blogspot.com

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  10. Cute blog!! I am now a new follower!! Nicole @ colieskitchen.com Relax and Surf Sunday!!

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  11. The only thing I would disagree with is that, for our family, we enjoy having some background music. We turn our TV (which is in a different room, away from our dining area) to one of the cable Music Choice channels (they have no announcers, just music).

    We usually choose to listen to lighter, more relaxing music, but sometimes we choose music that complements our meal or the season, such as Tejano for a Mexican meal or Christmas music in December.

    It just makes the atmosphere so much more pleasant, and it helps to mute the crunching, slurping and chewing sounds that can so often get on my nerves.

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