Here’s food for thought: a recent Abbott survey showed that the one thing that makes Indians feel most fulfilled is family.
Research increasingly tells us that one well-loved icon of family unity, the shared meal, is the source of numerous benefits to a better and more successful life.
1. SHORTCUT TO A HAPPIER CHILD
Studies suggest that children of families that regularly eat dinner together are less likely to suffer from anxiety, and more likely to enjoy boosted self-esteem.
By establishing the family table as a space to bond, communicate and feel supported, “parents are exerting a powerful subliminal influence through uncontrived role-modelling,” says one expert. That’s why kids who enjoy regular family meals enjoy something else too: boosted grades.
2. MORE FACE-TIME MEANS LESS SCREEN TIME, LESS CALORIES
Eating as a family also means you’re less likely to eat in front a screen. That doesn’t just mean you’ll enjoy more memorable conversations and bonding time. It’s also good news for your waistline: researchers found that eating in front of the TV makes kids and adults eat significantly more — you might even chow down on an extra full meal each day!
3. HOMESPUN PROBLEM-SOLVERS
Food and conversation are a perfect pairing, and a chance for people of all generations to learn from each other.
“I used to tune out my grandparents when I visited for a weekly dinner,” says 27-year-old Rhea Vaidyanatham. “But we got to talking about a work dispute I’d been having with a colleague, and my nani gave me great advice,” she recalls. “She took the time to really examine the situation rather than just try to placate me like friends of my own generation.”
Now, Rhea’s nani is her go-to guru: the two are closer than ever. “I seek her opinion on problems often, since she has a unique viewpoint.”
4. CHEMICAL BENEFITS
Need one last reason to dine as a group? How about the fact that it can flood your body with happy chemicals? Sharing meals with loved ones releases oxytocin (better known as the love hormone). No wonder Psychology Today lists eating together as a top-10 way to boost good feelings.
So, eat together and you will feed more than your belly. You’ll fill up on family love – food for your soul.