"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:
- A few different colors is nice (unlike my yellow meal) - eating your colors is very important for health also!
- A few different textures - not all mushy or all crunchy.
- Different cooking styles - not all boiled or roasted or fried.
- 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?
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
So, make your meals with REAL food, offer variety, and eat it with someone!
Linking this to Two for Tuesdays.
I am linking this to Relax and Surf Sundays!