A Meal Together A Day Makes A Difference

By Heather Sheridan  ●  August 9, 2023

In today’s fast-paced world, where we seem to be constantly on the go, rushing from one commitment to another, finding time to sit down and share a meal as a family can sometimes feel daunting. Yet, despite the chaos of life, the simple act of having one meal together each day can be impactful for the well being of our families on so many levels.

Meals are more than fueling our bodies; they are an opportunity to nourish relationships and create lasting memories. When family members come together at the table to share a meal, they are not only filling their stomachs but also their hearts. This shared experience fosters a sense of connectedness and belongingness.

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, one meal a day as a family provides routine and a dedicated time for meaningful conversations. It’s a time to put down technology (we have a no screen policy at our table) and engage in genuine dialogue. In my family, it’s an opportunity to share how our day went, what was learned, what we are grateful for as well as any other experiences, challenges, and triumphs going on. This invaluable time creates an environment where everyone feels valued and heard. Dining together is an opportunity to laugh, debate and problem solve.

The importance of sharing a meal a day goes beyond building relationships and extends into promoting healthier eating habits. Research supports this. When meals are consumed together, there’s a higher likelihood of incorporating a variety of nutritious foods into the diet, in our family’s case, it’s a lot of plant-based foods. Research also shows that family meals tend to be more balanced, promoting portion control and reducing the consumption of unhealthy processed foods.

Some of our family’s most cherished memories have been made around the dining table. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, a holiday feast, or a simple weeknight dinner, these moments have created, what I hope, are lasting traditions for my daughters. I hope these shared memories contribute to their identity, their sense of “home” and foster continuity and habits for future generations.

It’s never too late to begin sharing a meal a day, and if seven meals a week just doesn’t work with your family’s schedule, then begin with four meals, perhaps try three evening meals during the week and a weekend brunch. Then, as time goes on, you can try adding a meal. Inevitably, in our home, someone is traveling or at a game, but the rest of us still sit down, even if there are only two of us at the table. It not only creates a sense of routine, but more importantly it’s about nurturing connections, creating a space for open communication, and forming a strong foundation of trust and understanding. So why not put down those devices, gather around the table, and savor the joys of coming together as a family, one meal at a time.