This is a guest post from Katja Leccisi, MS, RDN, author of How to Feed Your Kids: Four Steps to Raising Healthy Eaters. This short and concise book is perfect for busy parents who want simplified and credible information on feeding kids. Katja believes feeding kids is about nourishing the body and spirit, not just feeding nutrients. In this post, Katja describes the vital role family dinners have played in her own family with benefits that go far beyond food and nutrition.
Over 20 years ago, when I was a new parent with my baby in my arms, I looked across the street into the dining room window of my neighbor’s house. Every evening, there was a candle lit, and I could see the adults at the table with their two teenagers. I saw that this family took the time to set the tone for a calm, pleasant family meal every day. I watched, and learned. Over the years, I have done my best to do the same as often as possible. Through all the ups and downs of our lives, we have more often than not, taken the time to sit at a our family table to share a meal.
As a professional, I have worked with many families whose mealtimes are vastly different. Sometimes family members just grab whatever is available, or they regularly eat in front of the television, or even in separate rooms. Eating is mostly about the food, and the whole piece about family connection and communication has been lost. Why does this happen? (more…)