6 Benefits of Eating Dinner Together at the Table

buttery zucchini & ground beef

Post written by Jules Clancy of Stonesoup.

The couple that eats together stays together.

The original statement may have actually been related to prayer, but to my mind at least, it holds equally true when it comes to the evening meal.

When life gets busy, it can be easy to slip into the rut of eating on the run and neglecting to take time to sit down together. Yet this is something we should be striving to avoid. There are a whole host of benefits that comes with taking the time to eat dinner together, at the table.

It need not be anything fancy. Or require one of you to spend hours slaving away in the kitchen. The benefits of eating together are there to be had regardless of the quality of your food. Takeaway pizza shared at the table can be just as beneficial as a home cooked meal.

As long as you clear away distractions and make the time to focus on each other, and of course the food.

1. Eating together helps you connect.

It can be difficult to reach out and nurture you relationship if you aren’t spending enough time together. We need to eat every day. So if you make a point of eating together, you will automatically be creating the shared time so critical for ensuring you don’t drift apart.

2. Eating together provides an opportunity to practice gratitude.

In my house we have recently started a habit of sharing at least one thing we’re thankful for before we start eating. Just one thing, no matter how small. It’s amazing how scanning through your day looking for the positive makes you realise how lucky you are. It’s not often that we only have one thing to share.

Another positive outcome is when something good happens during my day, I now make a special mental note to remember to share it at dinner. It’s a great positive conversation starter as well.

3. Eating together helps you relax.

After a long day at the office, we can all benefit from the simple pleasure of preparing and enjoying our evening meal. No only does it give you a chance to unwind from the day, it prepares you for a well earned, rejuvenating sleep.

4. Eating together encourages mindful eating.

By sharing a meal, and actually taking the time to talk about what you’re experiencing in terms of flavours and textures, you are both more likely to be mindful of your food, rather than wolfing it down. This leads to further benefits such as reduced over eating, improved digestion and increased enjoyment of food.

5. Eating together improves nutrition

I know when I’m cooking and eating by myself, I put far less effort into my meals. When I’m cooking for two, I’m far more likely to plan something nutritious and go to the effort of making a side salad or some extra vegetables.

6. Eating together is fun!

One of life’s greatest pleasures is sharing good food and wine with the one you love. Life is too short to miss out on this simple joy and all the good things it can bring to our relationships.

If that inspires you to get a bit creative in the kitchen, I’ve included a recipe for one of my favourite simple mid-week suppers. Enjoy!

Buttery Zucchini with Ground Beef
serves 2

I love the texture of ground beef when it’s been well cooked and crispy on the edges. Melting, buttery zucchini makes a wonderful contrast for a modern take on meat & veg. Pork, lamb or chicken would be equally lovely.

450g (1lb) ground beef
4 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds
1-2 teaspoons dried chilli, optional
fresh lemon, to serve

1. Heat a few tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan.

2. Cook beef over medium high heat, stirring for a minute or so.

3. Add zucchini and continue to cook stirring every now and then.

4. When the meat is well browned and the zucchini is soft and buttery remove from the heat.

5. Squeeze over 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice. Taste and season generously with salt & pepper.

Jules Clancy is a qualified Food Scientist and the creator of The Stonesoup Virtual Cookery School. She blogs about simple 5 ingredients recipes that can mostly be prepared in 10 minutes over at Stonesoup.

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