Coming from a family that almost always ate together, I cannot say I have much experience with people eating in different rooms. I, however, am not surprised because it is during this time that we are really all together as a family. I have heard before of this theory that eating together is beneficial. I have also seen many of the ad campaigns that promote such behaviors. I also noted how they believed that today's culture pampers children and caters to their every need. However, perhaps they do need direction and the dinner table is the best place to start.
Recently in Relationships & Eating Category
The article entitled "Could your partner be bad for your health?" spoke of the fact that individuals, both married and cohabitating, affected each other's eating habits. This made a lot of sense to me, especially after listening to the research done regarding roommates and their affect on each others' eating habits. Being in a similar living situation, of course this would make sense; also, as the couples would have more attachment than one would have to their roommate, it seemed rational that the couples would have more influence. When two people are living together, there is a compromise on what they are buying for food, therefore affecting what each person is eating.
I enjoyed the portion of the initial article that showed the changes of eating habits before marriage, right after marriage began, and a bit into the marriage. It was very interesting to me when the article stated that men made more changes than women. It said that initially what the husband preferred was very influential, but that influence decreased the longer the marriage went on. This makes sense, as when the marriage was first starting, the women (who were more than likely the ones in charge of making the meals) were attempting to accommodate their husband's desires, but as the relationship went along they were less concerned about the impression and began to go back to other meals and cooking styles. With the fact that women were doing a lot of the cooking, it made sense to me that they had more affect on their spouses' eating habits than vice versa - they are, after all, in control of the food coming in.
"Moving into marriage was associated with weight gain in women but not
men, while moving out of marriage was associated with weight loss in men but not women." I found this quote very interesting, as it hit upon some concepts that we had covered in discussion. We've discussed how women need to be physically attractive to attract men; after they are in a relationship, they do not need to worry about that as much as they did before. I found the second part of the quote surprising...why would men be the ones loosing weight? It would make sense that once a man got out of a relationship, he would spend more time with his male friends, engaging in the 'male approved' activities of sports and working out more than he had previously.
I liked the articles that dealt with the family meal. I have always felt that eating as a family is important, and I can personally attest to the fact that once I started coming home later and missing dinner with my family, my eating habits worsened. It was a lot easier to eat junk food or skip meals when there wasn't the rest of my family there to hold me accountable and set a good example. It made sense to me that the kids that weren't eating with their families were at higher risk of smoking and other things like that - no matter if your family is close or not, having them all together and there is a constant reminder that they are there for you and support you, which would make it harder to make poor choices.
Like many of the other blog entries mentioned, I grew up in a family where family dinners were stressed. Up until I was a freshmen in high school my mom was a "stay-at-home mom" where she would cook us up a dinner almost every night and we would eat as soon as my dad got home from work. Our conversations were similar to some of the conversations talked about in the article.. there was a little bickering amongst the siblings but mostly we talked about our days, how school is going, and joked about crazy things our other family members have done. Since my mom began working the number of family meals per week has decreased but we still make an effort for 3 to 4 times a week. A tradition that my dad's side of the family has is every Sunday we have a Sunday dinner where my whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) gets together to have an Italian meal that my grandma would prepare. I think that I have gotten so used to eating together that I try to stress getting together to eat with friends from my floor.
This week for our assignment I decided to get dessert before I got actual food to see everyone's reaction. A lot of the comments that I got were along the lines of "Oh, Jen's a little eager for dessert today". Most people didn't really notice or they just laughed about it. I think that we get so involved in the norm that any tiny change, like getting dessert first, can draw so much attention. I think that's why it was really difficult to get used to the fact that I wouldn't be eating family dinners 4 times a week and getting used to missing out on Sunday dinners. I'm really glad that my family has that tradition because I feel like I'm a lot closer with my extended family than most people because of our Sunday dinners.
One of the articles went into detail about how the male spouse tends to have a smaller influence on eating habits than the female spouse. This reminds me a lot about discussions that we've had in previous classes. But I'm already a terrible eater when it comes to being healthy so hopefully my future husband will be a health freak and influence me and go against the stereotypes!
This clip is from the show Jerseylicious and it gives a little example of what an Italian Sunday dinner consists of (well at least their interpretation of it). Sunday Dinner
I thought these articles were interesting, but not surprising. My family stopped eating together probably ten years ago. I remember we always ate together when I was little, but soon after we moved to our new house we stopped. I think we stopped eating together because my mom started working later, not getting home until around five. I at least got the experience of eating together as a family when I was younger, but my younger brothers never really got that experience. When my mom does cook dinner she has to drag them away from the XBox to get them to come eat it, and then they usually bring it downstairs with them. My mom does make dinner for us probably four nights a week, but she usually just leaves it hot on the stove and we all eat it when we get the chance. My family is really laid back, my parents don't really discipline us at all, which is the reason my older brother and I would probably fit into at least half of the bad side effects that are from not eating together as a family. Our dining room table is filled with mail and bills, so even if we wanted to use it we'd have to take an hour to sort all of that stuff out.
Another thing I thought was interesting was how one researcher said not to blame the teenagers, that parents think teenagers don't need their families and are too obsessed with their friends to eat together. I think that's true, I wouldn't mind eating together as a family. Most teenagers are just happy to see food, and would prefer a home cooked meal over pizza rolls. I know I just eat junk food because I am too lazy to cook real food, but I would much prefer real food. Sometimes when I am willing to cook real food I find that I don't know how to cook it, so I eat a frozen pizza instead. I always joke that I'm going to make a really bad wife, because I don't know how to cook anything. I am going to try to have my family eat together when I'm older, at least a few times a week. If our schedules don't permit us to eat together then I will try to spend time with my family in other ways.
Something else I think is interesting is that if you think about it, in almost all shows that have a family in them, it always shows them eating together, even dysfunctional families. Here are some examples: The Simpsons, South Park, Everybody Loves Raymond, That 70's Show, Malcolm in the Middle, etc
These articles were right up my alley. The hardest thing about living in the dorms for me is dinner time. Growing up in a family where, like in many of the article's examples, my parents made an effort to eat together almost every night, I miss that sense of togetherness. My mom made cooking dinner into cooking lessons for me and we always talked about our lives. Living on campus, I still talk about my life with the people I eat with but there is no preparation of the food beforehand. That portion of one of the articles impacted me. They connected fast food to our under appreciation of what we eat and called the fast food lifestyle one where people eat quickly, often alone and 'shovel food down'. Apart from the marketed fast food, this is dining hall eating. You walk along, pile food that has already been prepared for you onto a plate you will not have to wash and eat often quickly in order to rush on to your next activity. The article put a good amount of emphasis on the importance of realizing how and where your food comes from and I have felt for the last two months a lack of this that directly correlates to my lack of family dinners.
I decided to put this theory to a test in a way. I decided at lunch this weekend to put together my meal at the table instead of while in line. I gathered the toppings for my sandwich from the different places in the dining hall and then when all my friends sat down next to me at the table, I started to compile my food. I went back up to use the toaster and saw them giving me strange looks for taking so long to begin eating. Also, it did not seem to make sense to them why I would not have just taken the sandwich already prepared. It did however, give me more of a sense of seeing where my food came from.
Reading these articles made me think a lot about my own family's dinner habits. When I was younger it was just my mom and I so we always ate dinner together. As I got older and my younger siblings were born, however, the number of times we all ate together started to decrease. For most of my high school career I was in activities after school and wouldn't be getting home until around 7pm so my mom would eat with my younger siblings and I'd just eat when I got home. On weekends though, my mom made sure we all ate together and the rule was no cell phones and no TV on.
In reading the articles, I was surprised to see that having the TV on during dinner didn't cause a decrease in the benefits of the family dinner. I would have thought that the TV would prove to be a distraction and lead to a very disconnected family dinner. I did agree with the facts about having family dinner more frequently leads to less risky behavior in teens. Additionally, I agreed completely with the articles saying that it is at the family dinner table that young children learn etiquette, the values of the family, sentence structure, and gain insight into the lives of other family members. Its sometimes harder to see yourself learning these things, but I have been able to see my younger siblings learn their meal prayers, how to behave at the table, and the importance of eating healthy.
Personally, when I have my own family, I know I will be enforcing that everyone sits down for a family meal.
I really enjoyed these articles. I have always believed that family dinners are important, but I didn't realize just how much of an impact they have. It was fascinating to me that family dinners could have an impact on someone's grades, and I also thought it was interesting that girls who eat alone consume unhealthier foods.
The article concerning television during dinnertime was surprising. At home, my mother would always harp about having the TV on during dinnertime. She thought that it was really distracting and took away from the experience of eating together.
My family ate dinner together 5-7 times a week, and I miss eating dinner with them. Most of the time we would have the TV turned on in order to watch national and local news, and that would spark some interesting conversation. When the TV wasn't on, we'd make small chat about various activities that had taken place throughout the day. My mom always made sure that dinner was a healthy balance of fruit, veggies, carbs, and protein. I can't wait to go home for Thanksgiving and sit down for a home-cooked meal.
The cohabitation article made perfect sense to me. It came as no surprise that partners adapted their eating habits in order to have a more cohesive dietary lifestyle. I remember my dad talking about how his food choices as a bachelor were limited to canned and boxed foods, spaghetti, grilled cheese, and salmon. To this day whenever he cooks for the family, he will make either spaghetti or salmon.
For the homework assignment, I decided to eat soup without a spoon. Usually, I don't even eat soup, so that caught people's eyes. After the soup had cooled a bit, I picked it up with both hands and sipped it out of the cup. My friends looked at me a little funny, and one asked if I forgot a spoon. Nonchalantly, I said no, and continued eating my soup.
The articles on the family are very interesting. Growing up as a little kid we had family dinners often but as I got older they stopped and I just ate on my own, or in my room. I've heard quite often about the benefits of eating together as a family. How kids do better in school and all that. I guess it kind of makes sense but it'd be nice if they could better explain why. It was interesting that families with the least educated parents ate together the most. Maybe they're compensating for something? Or maybe more educated parents just don't have the time. I also found it interesting that foreign kids ate more with the family. My boyfriend is Greek and his parents moved here in there twenties and they always have family meals together. When I went to Greece with them this summer, dinners were really big family events where everyone got together to eat.
I think the TV thing has a lot still to be discussed about. It seems almost a random thing they just threw in there and it has no direct effect really on the dinners. I've had quite a few family dinners with the TV on but we still always talk. It's more just like background noise. When I have kids I do really want to have family dinners often. I guess it's helpful to take the TV information into account.
The relationship article and information on that was interesting too. It makes sense that women eat more meat and men less meat as they're trying to reach a good median between the two. I didn't know though that women drank high fat milk and men low fat milk. I really don't like high fat milk at all. It made a lot of sense that men had to change their diets more than women. But it makes sense because women do most of the cooking so they have a whole lot of say in what's going to be eaten if they're making it.
This is a video of a proper family dinner which I don't think anyone these days really does anymore.
The other video is a clip from the Nutty Professor, which shows the total opposite of the previous video. It's a funny contrast.
I grew up in a home where family meal time was a very important event in our night. My mom would make a meal and after it was prepared we would all take the time out of our busy days to sit down, pray, talk to each other, and eat. My mom always stressed that their be no televisions on, no cell phones at the table, no getting up to answer phone calls, and not even music on so that we would be forced to enjoy each others company, and it worked. My friends would always poke fun at the fact that I couldn't watch my dinner in the living room, or in my room, and while in high school it actually upset me that I couldn't. But now I couldn't be happier that my parents had us do that because I realize that sitting down and sharing a meal together was a time out of our day to sit down, relax, and have a real conversation with one another. I also realize that sitting down and eating a home cooked meal forced me to eat healthier because my mom was giving me the correct amount and types of foods rather than grabbing something quick and eating on my own. These articles were interesting to me because now that i'm at college I miss dinners with my family, and I realize how great they always really were and how I was actually benefitting from them and it is an activity I will have my family do to keep us close and connected with one another.
While out eating with my roommate this week I decided to put our homework assignment in motion. At every meal since we have came to school, I have drank ice water with my meal. As I went to get my cup of ice water I decided to get Mr. Pibb instead. While I sat eating my meal my roommate said "Did you get a soda craving?" She instantly noticed the small change in my diet for that day and mentioned it to me. It's crazy how eating with someone everyday gets so routine to the point that we notice a change in beverage.
Reading the New York Times article and the Time Magazine articles really hit home. More than being a tradition, it is a norm that my family eats dinner together every night. For as long as I can remember, my family has always had dinner together. At the dinner table it would be my mom, my dad, my two sisters, and I. We have our specific seats that we always sit in at the table, and we would all share a meal and talk about our days and anything interesting that happened. This really isn't a forced effort; we're a very tight knit family so we love coming together for meals. These articles were kind of funny to me because my friends would always make fun of me for eating meals with my family. During the summer, if we were all hanging out, I would leave in the middle to go have dinner with my family and then I'd come back later and we would all continue doing whatever we were doing. I've always loved having dinner as a family and I have heard before that coming together for meals helps with weight and many other mental aspects. I think that feeling a strong connection and bond with your family, which meals together can help with, lead to a more stable and happy life. In return, this can help you feel better as a person and regulate weight, social aspects, and help in school.
In high school, a few of my friends weren't close with their families at all. They would rarely eat meals at home, and their families would never eat together. These were the girls who also suffered from eating disorders. It was sad for me to watch them because coming from such a loving family; I know how having that support system can help so much during these tough transition times of life. Even the little time we have together during dinner makes me feel more loved and connected to my family. I think that when you feel more secure you are less likely to suffer from eating disorders.
It was a little hard for me to think of something out of the norm to do while having dinner with my friends, but since I always cut my pizza when I'm eating it, I figured I would substitute a spoon for a fork. It was pretty funny to see how my friends reacted when I started scooping up my pieces of pizza. They seemed really distraught and they couldn't figure out why I was using a spoon. A couple of my friends insisted that I could use their fork, but I told them that the spoon made it much easier. Although they didn't end up trying out my method, I could tell that I had definitely thrown them off.