Eating meals with others is a part of healthy eating.
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Enjoying healthy foods with family, friends, neighbours or co-workers is a great way to connect and add enjoyment to your life. It can provide many benefits and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
By eating with others you can:
- enjoy quality time together
- share food traditions across generations and cultures
- explore new healthy foods that you might not normally try
Food is often a main part of celebrations and special events. However, eating with others doesn’t have to be saved for special events.
Making time to enjoy meals with others doesn’t just happen. With busy schedules at work, school and home, making time to enjoy your meals with others can often get pushed aside.
The key to making it happen often starts with a plan. You could:
- plan a breakfast date with friends
- participate in community celebrations and feasts
- start a regular community meal with your neighbours
- have lunch with a co-worker at work or friend at school
- ask your local community centre about groups you could join
- plan a weekly dinner with extended family members or friends
- eat dinner with:
- a neighbour
- family members
- start a dinner party among your friends where everyone takes a turn hosting
When you eat with others, it’s important to remember to:
- Take your time. Don’t feel the need to rush. Enjoy your food and the social aspect of being together.
- Put away distractions like the TV or electronics. This can help you be mindful of your food choices.
- Use it as a chance to connect. Talk to those around you and share what is going on in everyone’s life.
Mealtime is a great opportunity to bring the family together. Eating together as a family benefits everyone. It can help the whole family:
- share and connect with one another
- take time to enjoy and relax over a meal
- talk about events that occurred during their day
Kids especially can benefit from regular family meals as they are starting to develop their eating habits and behaviours. Eating together as a family can help kids:
- explore new healthy foods
- establish healthy eating routines
- improve their overall eating pattern
- explore cultural and traditional foods
As a parent or caregiver, you can be a positive role model. By practising healthy eating habits, you can help create a positive relationship with food and the foods kids will eat.
Seniors often tend to eat alone. This can result in a sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness, especially at mealtimes.
These feelings, along with other changes you may experience as you age, can result in a loss of appetite. Eating less can impact your intake of important nutrients.
By eating with others more often, you can:
- make mealtime more sociable
- spend more time eating and enjoying a meal
- increase the amount of food you eat, which can help you get more of the important nutrients you need for health
Having a meal with friends or neighbours or participating in a community meal program are great ways to eat with others.
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