Healthy families are often happy families. If appropriate health measures are adopted by the family members from the beginning then they become a habit rather than a chore ! Next generation learns from the earlier one and the wellness tradition continues. Here are some food habits of healthy families
Eating meals together – It is true that “family that eats together, stays together”. This can also be implied more figuratively in the sense that eating together can be associated with longevity (staying together longer). Attempts should be made to eat at least one meal together as a family as it has proven to have several benefits.
Evidence suggests that children who take part in family meals are less likely to be overweight, eat more healthy foods, have less delinquency, greater academic achievement , improved psychological well-being , and positive family interactions.
Freedom from distractions – It is important to avoid external distraction during meals such as television, iPads, phones, newspaper, etc. No matter how busy the parent is, it is necessary to give 100% time and attention to that family meal. This will also help children to know that meals and mealtimes should be given due respect and importance. If meals are accompanied by other distractions, then they do not provide appropriate nourishment and also cause overeating . Researchers note that family meals may provide a unique context for parents to connect with and share important information with their children.
Eating slowly – One vital tool for weight loss is thorough chewing of food. When we sit at the table alone, we tend to gulp down food faster in order to rush for some other important tasks. However, when seated with the family, meals are enjoyable and are eaten slowly and peacefully. This can ensure proper chewing of food. Thorough chewing of food at a slow pace also helps one to understand satiety signal i.e. the realization that we are full now and do not need more food. Hurried meals may also result in gastric problems such as hyperacidity or burning sensation since we do not allow sufficient time for the food to be broken down and mix with the digestive juices.
Role play – We all know that children imitate adults. While eating together at the table, a child picks up healthy eating habits from parents. If parents eat all kinds of vegetables, pulses and grains in balanced amounts, then children will learn the same. Parents also become conscious as they know they are being watched and need to be good role models. Often meals with peers at school and college may be imbalanced and unhealthy since there is no supervision. Meals cooked at home constitute food preparation based on cultural habits and traditions and these are passed on to the children.
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