In Canada, a country with a culinary tradition, eating is above all a pleasure. A meal with family or friends is both a moment of convivial sharing and, especially for the youngest, an essential moment of socialization.
The meal: a convivial and beneficial moment
Taking the time to take a real break is an opportunity to get together with family and friends: it plays an important role in appreciating what you eat and can be a way to limit weight gain.
An analysis of several dozen studies involving 203706 children and adolescents reminds us that people who regularly eat meals with their families have a better diet than others and less risk of obesity.
The meal: a learning moment
A child’s diet changes over time as the baby’s diet changes from a liquid food, milk, to solid foods. It is particularly during this diversification that the child learns to use cutlery. He will also discover new foods, new tastes and also learn to share, to take into account the desires and tastes of others. His social universe expands.
A child’s meal is also surrounded by rules of hygiene transmitted by his entourage: he learns to wash his hands before eating, to store food in the refrigerator. Being open to taste from a young age allows them to appreciate vegetables and new flavours (exotic dishes, new spices, etc.) more easily as adults.
The good rhythm of the meals
Nutritionists recommend that you eat 3 meals a day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, + possibly a snack for the children:
These different meals help to set the rhythm of the day and give the organism points of reference that help to better regulate our food intake. Skipping a meal puts our body at risk of making up for it at the next meal. It will therefore tend to store in anticipation of the next “famine” it may have to endure!
Did you know that?
The time we take to eat is also important. Our brain needs time to receive signals from the stomach that we’re eating. It is said that it takes about 20 minutes to make us feel that we have eaten enough. This is also why we should avoid all sources of distraction such as television or other screens.
After a whole night, the body fasted for at least 8 hours. It is important to stay hydrated and eat breakfast, but it will be more or less copious depending on how hungry you are. If you don’t manage to have breakfast, to avoid cravings before lunch, rather than cakes, it is better to have bread, yogurt or a piece of cheese or fruit on hand. Croissants and other pastries are reserved for special occasions because they contain a lot of fat and sugar.
Lunch and dinner
Lunch and dinner can be composed from the dietary recommendations:
- Vegetables: as raw vegetables, soup, as an accompaniment to meat or fish or integrated into a dish based on pasta, rice or pulses.
- poultry, meat (limiting it to 500 g per week), eggs, fish, – twice a week including one fatty fish (sardine, herring, mackerel, salmon). Think about canned fish which can be easily integrated into your preparations.
- Pulses at least twice a week.
- wholemeal starchy foods such as wholemeal pasta, wholemeal rice, wholemeal semolina or wholemeal bread.
- a dairy product (limiting these dairy products to two per day): cheese (30 g), a yoghurt, cottage cheese, etc.
- For dessert, choose fruits: whole, in quarters, in compote, in salad.
- During the day or at the time of a meal (e.g. as an accompaniment to a dish): 1 small handful of unsalted nuts per day.
- water at will: it’s the only drink you can’t do without!
The snack for children and teenagers who feel the need can wait until lunchtime. A snack can include one or two foods, for example :
- 1 dairy product: yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese, milk, etc.
- 1 cereal product: cereal cookies, bread, etc.
- 1 fruit: fresh or applesauce, etc.
The ideal is to have a snack two hours before dinner.
How can we motivate the family to eat all together at the same time?
The table is a great place to socialize, a time to share meals but also to create a bond between the participants. Even if teenagers tend to want to skip the family meal, you can motivate them by offering to choose one menu per week and help them cook for everyone. This experience allows them to discover each other’s tastes as they grow and will train them in the basics of cooking. Very useful when they will leave the nest…