You are how you eat!
You are How you eat.
If you are what you eat, then are you “how you eat”? My family life can be crazy – always busy with four to feed and blending to seven kids with my new relationship. On our most hectic nights, sometimes scraping together a dinner of cereal and leftovers is the best we can do. When my parents were living their last memories, my kids and siblings and I took care of them. During that time we started a tradition that every Wednesday night we would sit down and eat a home-cooked meal as a family. On family night we would try new recipes. We would have theme nights and dress up. But most importantly, we would all sit down around the table and connect as a family. To me the most important element of our family night tradition is that kids would participate in the cooking and serving.
My list of worries that I have as a parent are longer than the line at the DMV. I worry about their grades. I worry about their friendships. I worry about their emotions. I worry about how they handle divorce. But because of this family night tradition of my kids cooking, I don’t worry about them not being able to cook for themselves when they are on their own or their relationship to food. Just like sitting in mom’s lap to read and snuggle leads to good readers, us building fond memories around dinner prep will lead to healthy eaters. They will always have this touchstone of mindful, present eating to reach for in the future. On these family nights we purposely slow down our life. We take our time with cooking and with eating. We make ingredients from scratch. We sit and talk and we read with each other. And most importantly, we enjoy each other’s company by truly experiencing a connection of what family can feel like. All of this togetherness is held in place with the glue of food! What better way to connect and make memories than over a chicken pot pie and brownies.
While I wish we could eat slow and from scratch all the time, I know that the nights of cereal and quick macaroni and cheese will always continue. But because they do have these experiences of slow, purposeful eating, I know that will create a thread in the fabric of the adults that they will grow to be one day. So when I sweep up the flour off the floor and wipe the icing off the table, it makes all the mess and all the prep totally worth it.
Kathryn Doyle is a mom if four, blending to seven kids. Kathryn helps busy, driven people hold the identity of strength, confidence and vitality till they are able to hold it on their own using fitness, food coaching, and motivation.