Healthy Dinner Practices to Implement

The dinner table has changed throughout the years. Not only food-wise (goodbye 1950s Jell-O foods!), but more importantly how we dine, and not for the better. We’ve strayed away from inclusive experiences and having genuine conversations over good food, opting in for eating in our rooms and having phones at the table.

If you’re interested in changing your overall nighttime home atmosphere for the better, try implementing these healthy dinner practices below.

  1. No technology at the table

There’s a time and place for everything, and technology while eating may not be the best combination. Etiquette experts and scientific studies have shown that using your phone at the dinner table makes you unhappy, as well as those around you.

The dinner table is known to be the most important social ritual that we engage in with others so concentrating on that is better than on Instagram or a new YouTube video.

  1. Actively partake in dinner table talk.

Sitting there in silence is no fun. Take this dinner time to discuss anything new that is happening in each of your lives, truly listen to one another and even ask questions. Below, you can find some of Erin Feher’s “36 Questions Perfect for your next family dinner” to help create conversation!

1. Can you guess the ingredients in the meal tonight?

2. What do you like better: waking up in the morning or going to bed at night?

3. Would you rather be a giant rodent or a tiny elephant?

4. What would you do if you had a million dollars?

5. If you had to eat a worm, how would you cook it?

6. What is a weird habit that you have?

7. If you had this week to do over again, what would you do differently?

8. Would you rather go without television or junk food for the rest of your life?

9. If a genie granted you three wishes, what would they be?

10. If money were no object, where would you like to go on vacation?

The most common type of good ice – breaker is, “what were some highs / lows of the day?”

  1. Promote inclusion and participation.

Everyone loves to have the chance to be proud of something they were a part of. Have the whole family participating in dinner by allowing some members to help decide what will be made tonight, cook, set up the table and clean up afterwards. I also encourage you to rotate duties ever so often to provide variety and maintain excitement.

  1. Make sure everyone can be there.

Promote inclusion by leaving no man behind. Time your dinners around an hour where everyone can not only attend, but thoroughly sit through. Additionally, try to have everyone start eating at the same time so no one can finish exceptionally faster than another to get out of family time. 

  1. Utilize the dining room.

While we initially purchase a dining room table and decorate our dining room, we often don’t use it unless it’s a special occasion, and this may be wrong to do. In fact, this can cause a divide within the family.

Revive the dining room every night by not allowing family members to take up food to their rooms or eat in the living room. Strictly limit everyone to eat together in the dining room on the dining table.  

By adding these small changes to your nightly dinners, you can help bring your family closer and work towards a happier, more inclusive atmosphere. If you are interested in further improving your family relationships, especially at the dinner table, feel free to reach out to me for family counseling.

Resources: Erin Feher’s “36 Questions Perfect for your next family dinner”

“Using your phone at dinner isn’t just rude. It also makes you unhappy.” by Jamie Ducharme“Cellphones at the dinner table? An etiquette expert weighs in.” By Jura Koncius

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