February gives us a new month and some new goals. Since this is Heart Month AND Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle, this month’s goals are all about connecting with your Significant Other. Get ready to follow along all month long to my new monthly series: TWO-gethness Tips. Since this is a blog with a focus on food and nutrition, we’re kicking off the series with TWO-gethness Tip #1: Eat Together at a Table
This week’s tip is one I have discussed previously on this blog back when Nutrition Nuptials was just a baby blog. Over the past 3 years there have been so many new readers, I wanted to take time and revisit some prior knowledge that has been dropped on this blog. Whenever people ask my top advice I give to couples, eating meals together at a table is always up there.
WHERE DO YOU DO IT NOW?
On the couch in front of the TV? Over the kitchen sink? In front of the refrigerator with the door wide open? Are you alone or with your Significant Other? If you’re eating anywhere other than at a table with your significant other, then you’re setting yourself up for unwanted weight gain and a disconnect in your relationship.
WHY DOES WHERE WE EAT MATTER?
When food is eaten anywhere other than at a designated dining area in the home, such as a kitchen table or breakfast bar, less focus is put on the meal and more on the distractions around us. As a result, we may consume additional unwanted calories simply because we’re not paying attention to what we’re doing. In an era where more focus is being put on staying present and mindful at meals, eating anywhere other than a table is going to contradict that intention.
WHAT HAPPENS AT THE TABLE
Having a designated dining area allows for more complete meals to be enjoyed. Taking the time to set the table and eating off a plate with a knife and fork creates an experience as opposed to a chore. Fixing yourself a plate allows you to see what and how much you’re eating. It’s a good chance to evaluate your meal and determine if that plate is half the colorful stuff (fruit & veggies), 1/4 starch, and 1/4 meat or other protein source. Sounds different than what you’re used to eating at meals? Then it’s time to have a seat and take a look at that plate!
A table also provides a place to put your fork down between bites, take a sip of water, and give the food a chance to settle in to your stomach while you chat. Plus, what’s enjoyable about sitting on the couch and balancing a hot plate of food on your lap while trying to cut a piece of chicken?
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TABLES STRENGTHEN RELATIONSHIPS
Yes, that table may very well be helping hold up your relationship.If you’re not eating meals together, you’re missing one of the most important parts of the day to connect. Sitting down at the table with your Significant Other is like being on a casual dinner date. It gives you a chance to talk, whether it’s about the weird dream you had the night before or your terrible commute that day. The time you spend talking with your Significant Other is more time you’re dedicating towards the relationship and each other. The meal, no matter what it is, is just something else that brings you together. And if it happens to be a night where you cook dinner together and then sit down to dine together, I’d call that a Date Night. Make sure to crack open a bottle of wine during the process and cheers to your meal together.
Occasionally, Mr E and I sit down to have breakfast together during the work week, and it creates a completely different tone and motivation towards how I approach my day. We get to talk about what we hope to accomplish that day, the parts we’re looking forward to, and what we’re dreading. Typically one of us is kissing the other good-bye for the day while they’re still in bed. It’s always a nice treat to have that extra time together in the morning.
TABLES CREATE HOUSEHOLD HABITS
Getting in the habit of sitting at a table for meals with your significant other will help maintain eating meals at that table when on your own for meals. Keeping up those practices of mindfulness are important for overall well-being – not just from a weight perspective. Plus, if you and your Significant Other plan to have a family, eating frequent meals together at the table creates a culture in your household of eating meals around the table as a family. This helps kids develop positive habits, like better social & communication skills, better grades in school, better relationships with food, and better relationships with YOU!
For more tips that benefit your relationship and health, make sure to check out my 52 Weeks to Your Happily Health-fully Ever After weekly email series.
Ready to do it on the kitchen table? Here’s your next steps. First, designate a space in your home for a table. Then, purchase a table if you don’t already have one. If you already have a table but it’s buried under papers and junk, clear that space off. Respect the Dining Zone. Set the table in prep for the meals. Coordinate schedules for the day or week when you can sit down together for meals. Cook meal, sit down together, and enjoy! And if you already are eating most meals together with your Significant Other, then Gold Stars all around for you two.