The dining table has long been one of the most important features of the home, but as our dining habits have changed over the years have we fallen out of love with it? A recent study conducted by Furniture Village on dining habits showed that, while people’s eating habits have changed as the years have gone by, over half of Brits (58%) still feel it’s important for family and friends to eat meals around the dining table.
The Benefits of Communal Dining
- The table brings people together
According to Family Therapist Dr Reenee Singh, “families who eat together around a dining table are likely to be closer.” Although it may not always be a possible thing to do, trying to factor in time for this can help children and young people develop both “healthy eating and communication patterns, it can also help parents to find a time when they can switch off from the stresses of their day, and speak to each other and their children in a relaxed way.”
2. People make better food choices
Eating a quick meal or on the go can leave us ‘vulnerable’ to making unhealthy food choices. As Registered Nutritional Therapist, Samantha Paget notes, “people are more likely to eat nutritionally balanced food at the dining table as the dining table provides a focal point… [this] encourages individuals to pay more attention to what, when and how they eat.
3. It can restore order to an otherwise chaotic day
Fifty-one percent of Brits admit they don’t eat regularly around the dining table due to busy schedules, but regularly sitting around the table can be the one aspect of a busy day that you actually have control of. Finding the time to unwind and relax can easily start with sitting around the table, having a meal and discussing things other than work. Alternatively, as Dr Lucia Giombini states:
4. It allows for time away from all the screens, and a moment of ‘reality’
It’s no secret that in an age where technology is at the forefront of most people’s lives, many find themselves glued to their screens at all times of day and night. Dr Reenee Singh recommends enforcing digitally free zones at mealtimes, and eating and talking as a family together, at least once a day.
So, what can we do to really combat dinner-time around the dining table deterrents?
Tip 1: Design a dining space to be proud of
If you find that you or your family don’t really like eating at the dining table, try to refresh the space into something that your proud of. Remove clutter and mess, and make the space more attractive.
Tip 2: Practice a dining digital detox
Try and make meal times tech-free to prevent as much distractions as possible while eating, but remember to practice what you preach!
Tip 3: Carve out some real time for eating
This way, you can avoid the negative feelings of anxiety and stress potentially caused by eating on the go. You’ll also be able to pay more attention to your emotions and what you’re eating.
Tip 4: Create a sense of routine
Routine can help solidify that something is part of the day, making you less likely to miss your planned meal around the dining table. Strive to establish a structured routine by eating at a regular time each night.
Tip 5: Get the kids involved
Try and have the children involved in as much of the food prep and the shopping as possible, then when you do finally sit down for dinner, keep the conversation family-focused and interesting for the kids too. This way they’ll want to be more involved!