It’s always lovely to sit down with friends and family for a long, leisurely dinner. But did you know there are more benefits than just delicious food and good conversation? Eating together can even make food taste better!
More and more people are eating alone
Research shows that a third of weeknight meals are eaten alone, and the average adult eats almost half of their meals on their own each week. There can be all sorts of reasons for this: living alone, eating on the go, an increase in single-person households and an aging population with more and more older people living alone. Sure, a meal on your own can sometimes be lovely. But it has also been linked to depressive symptoms, obesity and high bloody pressure.
It’s been proven that people who often eat with others feel happier and more satisfied with their lives. They also trust others more readily and tend to be more involved in their local communities. It’s all about bonding with others – if you eat with friends and family, you’ll create stronger relationships and social bonds, which in turn can help you be a more sociable and outgoing person.
Taking your time
When you eat with other people, you tend to eat more slowly. That’s down to things like chatting, using your hands to gesticulate and also just enjoying a leisurely meal. We already know that eating slowly is better for your health. It can help you eat fewer calories than you would otherwise, plus it can help avoid big spikes in blood sugar. So, eating with friends really can be good for your body. Although be careful: you could end up eating more when you’re out at a restaurant and that sharing dessert is just too tempting to resist!
Better quality food
When families sit down to eat together, we know that children and teenagers are getting better nutrition. They tend to eat more fruit and vegetables and fewer soft drinks and fast food. They also take on more protein, calcium, iron and vitamins, all of which are important for growing bodies.
Putting in the effort
Cooking for friends and family can often mean putting real love into the meal. That usually means higher quality ingredients and less processed food. However, putting that same effort into cooking just for yourself doesn’t come quite so easy. It can feel like you’re making too much food, that some of it will go to waste or that you just don’t have the energy to go to all that trouble for yourself. Next time, think about cooking up a big batch of food and freezing some of it. That way, you can get all the nutrients you need and you’re not throwing anything away.
Making life taste good
So now you know how good social eating is for you, why not grab your friends and family and cook up a storm? Your body and mind will thank you for it!