Eat Better, Eat Together Month
"Eating with your family and friends regularly has been associated with improved social skills, better-eating habits, and fewer behavioral problems in teenagers. It is also helpful for reducing stress in adults. Every year, October serves as Eat Better, Eat Together Month. While the history of the day is unknown, it is meant to promote better eating habits, and encourage us to share more meals together." https://nationaltoday.com/eat-better-eat-together-month/
October has nearly come and gone, and holiday preparations will soon begin. October was National Eat Better, Eat Together month where families and friends were encouraged to carve out time to spend enjoying healthy meals together. We want to extend this into the holiday season and for the upcoming year. It seems like the norm to distance ourselves and cancel most social gatherings lately, but having a strong community around you is very important for a healthy mental, social, and emotional state of mind.
Eating healthy can be very challenging with all the contradictory diet options and health fads popping up on social media. Let's also not forget that eating healthy can be challenging for busy individuals and families that have packed schedules and little downtime. But there are ways to eat well if you know what your body needs even when you're on the go. The American Heart Association has a simple guideline for the recommended daily servings of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and dairy. Animal proteins and dairy are all part of a healthy diet. Animal proteins like meat, eggs, and milk supply our bodies with all the essential amino acids required for a healthy body. These high-quality protein options in their unprocessed forms, help our body systems to perform at their best. To learn more about serving size and healthy food options visit the American Heart Association's website. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/suggested-servings-from-each-food-group
Other ways to Eat Better:
- Say no to drinking your sugar limit for the day. Sugary drinks such as iced tea, soda, Gatorade, and other sports drinks are filled with undesirable sugar. Try flavored waters or other zero sugar options. Chocolate milk is also a great recovery drink after a workout!Ditch the vegetable oil-based creamers for your morning coffee. Always look at the ingredient on the bottle. Try half and half or flavored creamers that are made with real dairy.
- Use the healthy plate model from Harvard Medical School when making your plate.
- Choose whole foods rather than processed. For example, next time the family is craving a healthy and delicious meal, try grilled chicken and broccoli alfredo. Make your own alfredo sauce with real cheese and no preservatives. It is simple and typically better for you than pre-made sauce in a jar. Click the link for a great recipe: https://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/light-chicken-broccoli-alfredo/
Eating a well-balanced meal is important for a healthy life, but what about where you eat and who you eat with? Do those have an impact? The answer is yes. Simply changing your dinner company has been proven to help mental and social health in people of all ages. Now, we know everyone's lives are incredibly busy, but challenge yourself to find time to eat together. Once a week we encourage you to sit down at the kitchen table as a family, engage in conversation, laugh, and listen to those around you. You never know what you might learn, and you might not yet see the value, but it is there.
Other ways to Eat Together:
- Rather than eating alone in the car on the way to your child's sporting event, try finding a group of other parents to share a meal with on the sidelines.
- Host a Friendsgiving with those you don't get a chance to see on a regular basis. Have everyone bring a dish to pass, making it less work for you and more of a team effort! Have the kids cook! Try once a month to have a night where the kids pick the menu, help with grocery shopping, and lead or assist with dinner preparations. Homemade pizza is always a fun option - recipe here: https://sweetphi.com/how-to-make-pizza-with-kids
- Take a cooking class with your significant other or your best friend. Try something new and exciting for your next date night or girls' night out; learn to cook a new dish or perfect a family favorite all while bonding together over this fun experience.
So, this year when you're planning your Thanksgiving meal or Holiday feast, think about how you can get together with others. Plan your menu using the tips and recommendations we've provided and remember that eating better and eating together both play a role in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.