Posted: October 24, 2016 | Author: Andee Felts, Yorkshire Parent

In today’s world the amount of things we are able to accomplish with all of our modern technologies are astounding. Shopping, communications and information are at our fingertips. Gone are the days of driving from shop to shop in search of a particular item, we simply research it on the internet and (if we haven’t ordered it for front door delivery) drive immediately to the shop which has in stock exactly what we want. With all of these advances we seem to add more and more to our plate. Trying to navigate all of these “efficient” tools in today’s world can sometimes make us forget how to slow down for some of the more important things.

For my family, one of the most important “slow” activities is the family meal. Sometimes it’s as simple as a loaf of bread, cheese, sliced tomato and fruit and, at other times, much more extravagant.

Did you know that children who eat regular family dinners also consume more fruits, vegetables, vitamins and micronutrients, as well as fewer fried foods and soft drinks? I try to make a point to include everyone in the cooking and preparing process as much as possible.

Having the children wash the salad, peel the carrots or even sauté the zucchini is an amazing initiator of trying different foods (one always has to at least try what they have cooked, right?!) Setting the table instills a thoughtfulness of others in everyone by making sure that all have a full water glass, napkins and flatware.

Another favorite activity of the kids is to “plate” the meal. This really brings out their creative side and even encourages them to want more colorful vegetables on their plate to “make it pretty”. Extremely simple desserts of fruits, a sprinkle of sugar and some whipped cream can suddenly turn into little Picassos that are eaten up quickly.

All of this assistance doesn’t compare to the most important part of our meal, which is real “face-time”. Having all four of us sitting in front of each other discussing our daily happenings and thoughts and “connecting” is so important in this ever busy world. Did you know that just by having dinnertime conversation with your children you boost their vocabulary more than being read aloud to?

By taking time to prepare our food, to setting a table, to gathering around together to eat it, we have made a simple commitment to each other to respect the importance of our health and vitality of our family.

What are some of the tricks that you use to encourage variety eating in your children and what are your favorite slow meals?