NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Social Wellness & Eating Together

Social Wellness & Eating Together


                Earlier this year, the NDSU Extension Service launched “The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect,” a program to provide families with tips, meal plans, recipes and conversation starters to help make family meals happen.

                Their website, https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/familytable, reminds us that who you dine with is as important as what you food you are enjoying together

                Do you find yourself so caught up in your busy life that you have lost contact with friends and family? Have you found yourself missing good-quality time with your significant other or children? If so, you may need to make social relationships a priority in your life. How can I improve social health with little time?

                Eat Together - Even though eating every meal around the dinner table with the entire family may not be possible, strive to have a least one meal together every day. Doing so promotes communication among family members and deepens connections. Involve the kids in meal planning and preparation. Even young children can set the table, scrub potatoes, tear lettuce and do many other tasks that prepare them for life. At the same time, they are in conversation with their family members. Set aside at least 20 minutes a day to eat together as a family. It is an easy way to share with and listen to loved ones.

                Communicate - Stay connected with others by keeping dialogue open. Show you care by sending a quick text to share a warm thought. Have a conversation with a friend over coffee or have a family discussion in the car. Ask questions and spend more time listening than talking. Doing so will strengthen connections and result in greater understanding.

                Pass Out Compliments - Be free with genuine compliments. They have the power to brighten another’s day and are easy to give. Highlighting the positive brings out the best in everyone. Compliments can be given to family, friends or strangers alike. One short, genuine sentence can strengthen a relationship for a lifetime.

                Plan Dates- Make dates with a significant other, family or friends. Find a time and place that works for both parties and mark it on your calendar. Writing dates down helps make them happen.

                Go Beyond Social Media -While social media has many benefits, it also has some downfalls. Many users only share what they want others to see. Remember that not every family goes on 2-week-long luxury cruises. Young children love camping in their own backyard as long as their parents are there to enjoy the experience. Don’t get down on yourself if you are unable to take big vacations; instead, celebrate the joys you experience when spending time with those who are important to you. Even so, make sure to schedule breaks for your family and yourself. We all need time to rejuvenate.

                Family Conversation Starters: Which meal should we plan to eat together as an entire family every day? What evening each week can we reserve for family night? What would you like to do during family night?

                Volunteer Team Work- As a family, discuss what volunteer work you would like to do together.

This might include making encouraging cards and sending them to others, visiting individuals who are homebound, or making and delivering meals to people in need. Pick activities that help you bond with family members

                “The Family Table: Eat, Savor, Connect” website provides information on monthly topics, such as meal planning, making mealtime fun, cooking basics, buying nutritious food on a limited budget, getting kids involved in meal preparation, and family fitness. The site also will have links to related events in counties throughout the state.

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