“Food feeds the soul. To the extent that we all eat food, and we all have souls, food is the single great unifier across cultures.” – Amy S. Choi
The holiday season is known for its food and fellowship. We gather together to spend more time with family and friends, often over traditional meals. Depending on your culture, you may be looking forward to ham, latkes, curry, fish, turkey, goose, yams and other dishes passed down from generation to generation. This time of year is rich with tradition and the opportunity to infuse a simple meal with so much more.
As a partner of the Together Counts™ program for healthy, active living, we know how important it is for families to share meals together throughout the year, both at home and when dining out. Studies have shown that sharing meals can help kids maintain a healthy weight, experience new foods and flavors for a healthier diet, improve academic performance and even lower their risk of substance abuse.
This holiday season make every meal count with ideas like these that can help your family and friends get together around the great unifier, food:
Get the kids in the kitchen.
Help kids connect with the ingredients and foods that you share. Not only does this give kids an opportunity to learn the basics of food preparation and cooking; it also gives you a chance to pass on family recipes, traditions and stories while sharing quality time.
Try something new.
Every family has its must-have dishes passed down from generation to generation, but the holidays are also a great opportunity to embrace new dishes and create new traditions. Whether you’re asking the newest member of your circle to bring one of their family favorites or diving into an unfamiliar cuisine yourself by dining out, this openness to new foods and cultures during the season will not be missed by your youngest diners. The more kids see friends and family members embracing new foods and flavors, the more adventurous their palates will become.
Learn the history.
As such an integral part of our cultures, food carries so many stories with it through the years. From the family stories retold year after year over the mashed potatoes to the older and more traditional history of foods and why they’re part of our lives and celebrations, these tales can add more meaning and depth to our meals. Don’t forget to pass all of this on to the kids!
Food is so much more than just the flavors and nutrition each ingredient represents. It helps to bring us together and tell our story. Be sure to incorporate these habits into your meals throughout the year whether you’re at home or dining out to help make even regular weeknight dinners mean more.
What food traditions are you looking forward to this holiday season? How do you make your meals mean more throughout the year?
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For more holiday inspiration, check out these other articles from Together Counts!