Do you love a long lunch, family BBQ, a meal out with friends or even just having the family together around the dinner table? Food is social. Eating good food with good company serves more of a purpose than you may realise. So what are the benefits of social eating?
- Mindfulness – when eating with others you may eat more slowly, more healthfully and be satisfied with smaller volumes of food. Take time to sit and enjoy a meal without the distraction of your TV or computer, instead enjoy company and conversation and notice how it can increase satiety and assist weight management.
- Sharing a meal with others gives you time to communicate and build relationships. You can gain a sense of belonging and social connectedness in this space. You can also de-stress by debriefing on the events of the day. In this time you can feel heard, as those listening are not distracted by other tasks.
- Preparing your own meal as opposed to dining out is likely to result in you eating a more nutritious meal, a cheaper meal and a more appropriate volume of food. You are more likely to undertake food preparation if you are cooking for more than one person – so invite your neighbour, your friend or your family around.
- Cooking is an opportunity to be creative – plan, prepare and present your artwork and enjoy the compliments!
- The family dinner table is a time for you and those around you to practice communication, social skills and etiquette. Learn from and teach each other. Also, when you eat as a family or socially, disordered eating behaviours are picked up much quicker and so have less chance of becoming severe problems.
- Lastly and most importantly, when sharing a meal take a moment to show gratitude and appreciation for where you are, what you have and whom you are with!
Food is social. Are you? 🙂
P.S. If you haven’t already, please check out the Eat Real Food Podcast. In Episode 5 Nav and I discuss social food practices.