While last year felt like the universe may have hit the pause button in most of our lives, this year things seem to feel like they’re back in full motion. This means that most of us are experiencing an increase in the hustle and the bustle, a decrease in time spent with loved ones, and partaking in more meals that come in wrappers and are often eaten in the car or on the way to or from an obligation. Last week we talked about the importance of enjoying your meals as a whole experience (you can read more on that here). But perhaps it should be pointed out that a key aspect of savoring the entire meal process is joining together with friends and family to share what you have.
Tips for more high-quality meal together time:
Sometimes we find ourselves in a season of life (or even just a season of the year) where we feel like we’re going full steam ahead until it’s time to crash into bed - just to start it all over again the next day. If you find yourself in this pattern, finding time to enjoy a meal with loved ones can feel like a big ask. Luckily, sharing meals can happen at any time of day - just choose the option that gives you the highest amount of quality time. This could even be a snack with a co-worker. It’s just important to unplug and share - share your food, share your story, share your thoughts.
Meals and activities don’t have to be enemies. If you find that you don’t have time to sit down at the dining room table for dinner before the grandkids’ soccer game or you’re rushing to make it to yoga on time, try a picnic-style meal before or after your scheduled activity - it doesn’t matter as long as you’re together!
Making meals together can actually be even more beneficial than just eating together. Especially, if you involve little ones in the kitchen. Kids are more likely to eat what’s on their plate if they have a hand in making it.
Sharing meals together does more than just inspire highly recognizable artwork, it also helps promote physical, social, and behavioral health. People of all ages benefit from sharing meals together. They tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and experience fewer sugar and processed food cravings.
Sharing meals with a gathering of multiple generations teaches young children healthier social behaviors as well as offers them the chance to incorporate a larger vocabulary. It also allows the older generation to connect with and learn about the lives of their younger loved ones.
Eating together lowers the occurrence of depression and strengthens the sense of belonging and purpose. A large majority of older adults report feeling happier eating with others than when they eat alone and many also say that the food even tastes better with loved ones around.
Older adults who are more socially connected are reported to live longer, feel better, and experience fewer health problems than their more isolated counterparts.
Here at Chickahominy Falls we’re so lucky to have a built-in, extensive community. From all the clubs, meetings, and classes, there’s always a way to find your people. That’s just one reason we’re so excited to be bringing the Native Plate series to a dinner table near you. Join us in the Red Barn once every month for this series (that is the perfect combination of class and cooking demo) where one of our local chefs creates some of your favorite farm-fresh-inspired meals! This month, Chef Devon Hammer will be making your taste buds dance with some of the freshest ingredients out there - straight from our farm! He’ll be making farm-inspired tacos, tapas, and desserts. For more information and to purchase tickets check out our website here.