Updated: Sep 20, 2020
Nutrition Month 2018 features the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together – with the help of dietitians. Visit NutritionMonth2018.ca for more details.
Canadians are busy! In a recent Ipsos poll, 30% of Canadians said it’s challenging to find time to eat meals with friends and family. But, it’s important to share meals because it opens dialogue, connects people and helps us eat a more balanced diet. It’s an enriching experience for people of all ages to share meals – from children to older adult. This Nutrition Month, dietitians want to remind you of the power of coming together for shared meals.
WHY SHARE MEALS WITH OTHERS?
The biggest barriers to eating together are busy schedules like work and evening activities. It takes creativity to balance busy schedules, but it’s worth the effort because everyone benefits when you eat in the company of others!
Children who eat with their family have more nutritious diets, better academic performance, a lower risk for being overweight and less risk of eating disorders. Plus, children tend to have increased intake of vegetables and fruit, and a decreased intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Teens who share family meals get better grades, and are less likely to smoke, use drugs or alcohol, or to participate in serious fights.
Adults who eat with friends and family tend to eat more vegetables and fruits, drink less pop, eat fewer meals at fast food restaurants, and have lower body mass indexes.
Older adults who eat as part of a group have better diets, improved nutrient intake and lower rates of malnutrition.
People who come together in communities can eat together at community kitchens, where they learn to cook, share meals, try new foods, have fun and learn about nutrition.
START A CONVERSATION
For many people, sharing meals is a favourite time of day to interact with family and friends. It allows people to connect share traditions, learn, communicate and listen. If you are new to family meals, here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
DO give everyone at the table a chance to speak.
DON’T use it as a time to scold or discipline picky eaters.
DO ask questions that require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. So, instead of “Did you have a good day?” try asking “Tell me something interesting that happened today.”
Sharing family meals doesn’t only mean dinner! If your evening schedule is hectic, share breakfast meals or have brunch together on the weekends. Most studies done on the benefits of family meals start with sharing at least four meals together per week. They all count!
Check it out: Fact sheet for more information on the potential to bring us together, a “Dietitian’s Pro Tip” and links to recipes the whole family will enjoy!
Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at http://www.nutritionmonth2018.ca