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One result of eating together is eating better

It’s Nutrition Month® again! This year’s theme is Celebrate Food…From Field to Table. So, instead of grabbing for the closest convenience food or wishing that eating and meal preparation didn’t have to take up so much of your valuable time, let’s learn to celebrate our food!

We often hear about the importance of thinking about the path food travels to reach our plates but, have you thought about the location of your plate? Are you standing alone in the kitchen while you eat? Are you sitting in front television glued to the news? Or are you sitting with the members of your household enjoying a meal together over relaxing conversation? If you’re like most people, the latter scenario is not a daily event.

There are many positive reasons why we should all make a whole-hearted effort to share a meal each day with our loved ones.  Eating together has been linked to healthier eating habits for both adults and children, reduced risk of becoming overweight, better school performance in children and stronger family relationships.

There are a number of other reasons why sharing mealtimes can be difficult. You may be thinking – I don’t know how to cook; I don’t have enough time; My children like to eat different foods; well the good news is there are ways to overcome these roadblocks:

Learn the basics – If you don’t know much about cooking, start with a few easy recipes and work your way up. And remember some of the most delicious meals happen by accident!

Keep it simple – The meal doesn’t have to resemble something you would order at a five-star restaurant. For simple recipe ideas visit

Include the whole family – Short on time? Give each member of the household a job and cut down on the amount of time needed for meal prep. Peeling the carrots and setting the table are perfect tasks for the little ones in the family.

Give each child a night per week to plan a meal – Set some guidelines around healthy food choices and see what comes to the table! Your child will take more ownership for meal times and will be able to guarantee their favourites will make it to the table at least once a week.


Here is my challenge to you: for the month of March arm yourself with the above tips and try to increase the number of meals your family eats together each week by two. See if it makes a difference in the types of foods you are eating and the quality of your relationships. Bon appetite!

- By Jill McDowell

UBC Dietetic Intern, Interior Health