Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hot Topics-Rituals

Kin is in. Family dinners are the right choice for health, grades, socialization, positive behaviors and more.  A new study found that families who often eat dinner at the table had significantly lower body mass indices for both adults and children.  This is as compared to families who ate elsewhere, especially in front of the TV.

Here are the key points of the study reported in the October issue of the journal Obesity:
  • They did it often - dining was an important family ritual.
  • They ate at the table, either in the kitchen or the dining room.
  •  It helped both adults and children have healthier body weights.
Possible Healthy Family Dinner Rituals Which Might Work For You:
  • Always offer at least 2 veggies with dinner (keep a stash of frozen veggies to make this more likely).
  • Serve from a buffet rather than family style so the extra helpings are not sitting right in front of you.
  • Give everyone a glass of water - in addition to their other healthy beverage of choice, such as milk for children - with their meal.
  • Have a "try it" policy with kiddos - at least a taste (or as it was when I was growing up, the number of peas, Lima beans, etc. equal to my age).
  • Have a no vices or devices zone - no Berries, Tweeters, pagers, texters, etc. at the table.  That goes for Viners, Snapchatters and Instagramers too.  No "i" anything.
  • Clear off the dining room table so that family dinners are even a possibility.  If it is where you pay the bills, keep the bill paying items in some kind of tray or file box that is easily moved to the floor.  If it is where the kids do their homework, keep some kind of organizer nearby where they can easily and temporarily move their things off the table for dinner time.
  • Question some inherited family rituals which might not be the healthiest - do you really need a dinner roll with certain entrees?
  • Table vs. TV?  A key point of this study is that families ate at the table, either in the kitchen or the dining room, not in front of the TV.
  • Mark the family calendar - maybe you can designate certain nights and times to be family dinner nights (a family date, of sorts).
If you are already having family dinners, give yourself a pat on the back - good job!  Reap the benefits of this study by simply keeping it at the table and doing it as often as possible.

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