Have Dinner with your Family


How is having dinner with your family healthy? Airing the dirty family laundry, vying for attention, and fighting for food does not feel healthy to me! Counting seats, setting the table, doing the dishes and putting up leftovers is how I remember it. Yes, but if it sounds sad, don’t cry for me.  The family dinner time is one of my favorite memories.  Here’s how it all went down…

Growing up, family dinners went something like this…on weeknights we would get called to dinner and whoever was there had to come sit at the dinner table, hungry or not.  There were 7 in my household.  If friends or cousins were visiting, they squeezed in there too.  As we grew up the numbers got progressively smaller, but I still remember 7. I remember where we each sat, and the entire family dynamic.  We used paper plates in those straw plate holders.  Usually on Thursdays, we ate all the leftovers from Monday through Wednesday. Friday was fried fish day. I loved Fridays. Fried fish with hot sauce and mustard on white bread, hushpuppies or French fries.

On Sundays, we even had breakfast together.  To this day I still love making eggs over medium, with grits, bacon and sausage, and toast or English muffin as my all-time favorite.  I make the best grits because of my mom taught me how the make the perfect pot every time.  My friends even ask me to make grits for them.  I made 2 pots this week already. I’m not kidding.  And who do I think of every time? My mom.  Oh we’d have orange juice too.  That was a treat.

On Sunday night we had the Big family dinner.  We used the real dishes. That meant whoever’s night it was to clean the kitchen had a lot of dishes to do on top of all the pots and pans.  My parents fed 7 people each and every meal.  With 1 in 6 kids going hungry in America today, I really thank my parents for that.  Another great inspiration.

The weeknight meals were low key.  We talked about how our day in school was and what was happening in the upcoming week. Afterward, we would laugh together watching an episode of Good Times or Archie Bunker’s shenanigans.

Sunday meals were special.  The meal was fancy. Meaning we would have something extra nice like seafood, or buttery dinner rolls and iced tea!  Weeknights were basic assorted meats and water was the beverage du jour.  The conversation was filled with stories, jokes and often a big reveal.  Maybe a little family history?  Who’s pregnant, who’s not. Who got promoted and who lost their job.  Not quite sure what you’re supposed to know, and what I was free to discuss in public.  This is where we learned discernment–how to be informed without being inappropriate (gossipy).  This is where we learned our history.  This is where we shared laughs and tears.  And THIS is where we got to know each other and learned how to be family.

Here are some quick takeaways for why you should eat dinner as a family...

1. Sharing intimate thoughts have the power to change lives.

2. Taking time to celebrate victories with family is motivating (to everyone).

3. Examine relationships for gratitude & healing (forgiveness).

4. Let positive relationships inspire you.

It occurred to me, that I don’t remember Saturday meals particularly well.  Maybe it was my mom’s day off. A fend for yourselves day. Reminiscing has me super excited to encourage everyone to get back to the basics and start sitting down and having family meals. Have a homemade meal, made with love and not processed.   That’s health and wellness right there. That’s love.

UgottaEat…so eat with family. :)