14 Aug 2014

Let Us Break Bread Together: Family Meals Month

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August is Family Meals Month. Did you know that family meal times tend to be more nutritious? According to Nemours, a children’s health system, eating together as a family leads to more conscious planning on the part of the parents, resulting in healthier choices placed on the table.  In addition, there’s the “social nutrition” aspect: Eating together solidifies family and friendship bonds in ways unmatched by other activities. It’s that old adage that a family that eats together, stays together.

At the same time, family meals – however beneficial – are often the result of stress. A few months ago, a one-frame comic went viral on the Internet. It showed a woman with her head buried in her arms, with the caption: “Why do they have to eat dinner – every. single. night???” Parents across the board read this and laughed out loud. They know what it takes to struggle, every. single. night to get dinner on the table. Parents are exhausted from a long day at work, the extracurricular carpool shuffle, and the need to practically strap their kids down to do homework. On top of all of this,  they need try to get a meal going? It can be overwhelming. And it’s every. single. night. Somehow, hunger doesn’t take a break for a day. Thankfully, there are many tips to make dinner time easier, such as:

  • Plan out the week’s menu. This way you don’t have to fret at 6:30 pm about what’s for dinner.
  • Cook in bulk, then freeze.
  • Chop fresh vegetables the night before.
  • Involve children in the cooking, handing over responsibility and making the effort a family affair. (For gatherings of friends, potluck is often both easier and more fun – with everyone sharing their own recipes communally.)

Interestingly, Family Meals Month occurs during the month when many families go on vacation – school is still out for the most part, yet families are also gearing up for back to school mode. August, therefore, is the perfect time frame for getting into a routine of eating together, which can then be applied once the evenings start to be much more planned. Hopefully, the positives of eating together will be drawn upon, with everyone making an effort to eat together a few nights of the week, allowing flexibility for both parents’ and children’s work, school, and activity schedules.  At the very least, Friday night dinner can usually be a priority for all.

While being cared for at Rockaway Care Center, obviously residents will not regularly eat with their families, however, our cafeteria serves as a home away from home eatery. The Rockaway Care Center menu is varied, including many specifically healthy choices. And family members can join residents to eat together either in our dining hall, in their rooms, or in any of our public spaces. From drinking a coffee to breaking bread, whether with family, longtime friends, or new friends, together is often better.


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