Healthy Mealtime: A Chance to Share and Bond

Healthy Family Mealtime

Food is important to your physical well-being for energy, growth, repair, and regulation of your body and its functions. But it's also important to the well-being of your spirit. The sharing of food nourishes our spiritual sense of community. This happens through the type of food selected, the method of preparation, the uniqueness of presentation, and the people involved. From a spiritual perspective, the sharing of food can be a highly satisfying activity.

No closer sense of community exists that in the family. When food is shared in the company of those who care about us in the deepest and most personal ways, we experience a sense of value and well-being that is rarely found elsewhere. The simple act of being together and engaged in a familiar and comfortable practice is reassuring. It reminds us that we are valued in this setting. Meals that involve the extended family, especially dinners for special occasions or important holidays, are particularly rewarding.

Food is often at the center of the celebration of special occasions. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, promotions, retirements, and funerals take on a special meaning when people come together to share food and drink. From the first birthday cake through the retirement dinner to the lunch. provided by neighbors after the funeral of a loved one, food reminds us that these events are benchmarks in our passage through life.

Whether it's an unexpected gift certificate for your favorite restaurant, your favorite dinner prepared at home, an invitation to order anything you'd like from a menu, or a catered banquet, food is often used to recognize a special achievement. This reminds us--in a spiritually uplifting way--that people value us and have chosen to be part of our success story.

Friends are among the most important resources we have in our quest for self-validation. The sharing of food provides an opportunity for us to have important and meaningful exchanges with our friends. It's also a way of introducing new friends into our lives. New and valuable friendships begin in residence hall dining rooms, on outdoor benches shared on a pleasant day, at a restaurant when someone is invited to join a group at their table, and at picnics at the home of a coworker. Without food, these opportunities might not exist.

Finally, food is the focus of many religious practices and observations. It may be a symbol in a religious service, a means of expressing religious values, or a way of unifying the congregation in times of joy and sorrow.
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