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Nourishing your body through healthy meals can also nourish family relationships. Whether it's in the home or at a restaurant, there is a reason that people gather together around food.
Why do you suppose this is? I believe that it's a chance for us to become closer as family and friends as we share stories of our day and give words of wisdom and encouragement. It's a chance for each family member to be heard and to feel validation. If we use good listening skills, loved ones feel love and acceptance.
Keep the conversation focused on positive thoughts and save the lectures and heated discussions for another time. Mealtime shouldn't become a dreadful scolding time that puts everyone off from wanting to be together. Laugh often, and laugh loud. It will keep you and your family happy, healthy, and everyone's attitude heading in the right direction. Just don't get too carried away by laughing so hard that milk comes out your nose.
Since we do live in such a busy and hectic society, family meals bring stability and comfort to a fast-moving family full of extracurricular activities. Make sure to turn off the television or radio and put the telephone on vibrate so that this time is quality time.
Encourage all family members to participate in the meal preparation - from menu suggestions to the experience of preparing and cooking meals and cleaning up together. Children learn more by doing rather than watching, and it gives them a sense of being needed in the family. Focus on the shared experience as opposed to how elaborate the meal. Make memories that will stay with the family throughout the years.
All families have strengths and weaknesses. Eating together as often as you can is a simple, enjoyable way to build on the strengths and values of your family. When you are too busy for a family meal, you may want to reevaluate your schedule, as it may be too busy. Sharing positive mealtime not only strengthens the family bond, but it is a healthier way to digest and metabolize our food.
WENDIE PETT is a mother and fitness expert, the author of Every Woman's Guide to Personal Power and co-author of The Miracle Seven. She trains people individually and conducts seminars to corporate groups to help teach others how to maximize their wellness through the balance of mind, body, and spirit. For more information on Wendie visit www.wendiepett.com.