If you're a child of the 90's, or raised children in the 90's, a purple dinosaur probably taught you that 'sharing is caring'. Although he may have been talking about sharing toys, there's something to be said about sharing meals too.
To say that Canadians are busy people may be an understatement. When it feels like time is scarce, it can be difficult to make time to connect with family or friends to share a meal. Roughly one-quarter to one-third of families never or seldom eat together as a family. But it's important to share meals. It allows people to connect, to share traditions, learn, communicate, listen and helps us eat a more balanced diet. Sharing meals is an enriching experience for people of all ages-from children to older adults.
The biggest barriers to eating together are busy schedules like work and evening activities. Balancing a busy schedule certainly takes a little bit of creativity, but everyone benefits when you make the effort to eat in the company of others!
If you've exhausted all your usual topics of conversation and caught up on each other's days, a well-worded question can go a long way. Try and ask questions that require more than a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer.
Sharing a family meal doesn't have to only mean dinner! If you have hectic evenings, share breakfast meals instead, or have brunch together on the weekends. Most studies done on the benefits of family meals suggest starting with at least four meals together each week. They all count!
Writer: Stephanie MacNeill (RD)