In a recent article, Everybody’s Eating Alone, the work of Professor Sylvain Charlebois, dean of the faculty of management at Dalhouse University is quoted. He’s the lead author of Disintegration of Food Habits.
“Contemporary Canadians are experience a disruption of meal times, a rise in the frequency of snacking and an erosion of the will or ability to cook meals. These fragmented food habits…represent a challenge to public-health nutrition in Canada.”
The study highlights that people are eating alone more frequently across the country. Breakfast and lunch, are often being eaten at the office, at a computer. When it comes to dinner, many families are still not eating together. They may be in the same house, but not eating and connecting with each other. Eating in front of the TV or the computer seems to be a pattern and that has been associated with eating more. Amy Norton’s article ‘Does lunch in front of a computer make us eat more? ‘ highlights the fact that yes, it does:
“Distractions like computers and TV muddy our memories of mealtime, which in turn may have real effects on appetite. We think that memory for recent meals influences the amount of food that we select and then consume at a subsequent meal.”
Study after study has shown the value of eating together as a family, especially as it relates to children’s health and learning. Eating together 5 or more times per week impacts a child’s use of drugs and alcohol, academic success, language development, depression and obesity.
With all of this evidence, the #FamilyMeal feels like a no-brainer. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to be happening and we are not sure why that is the case. How is it that parents can commit to a child’s swim practice or piano lesson and not commit to eating together without a screen? Perhaps it is because mealtimes aren’t all perfect themselves. They can be tough (see our article, Mealtimes Gone Bad,) and they are worth it!
This week, ask yourself these questions:
Is there a way for us to be eating together more frequently?
What is the one thing that would make family mealtimes better?
Have we committed to more things outside the home than inside?