Serena Caner, registered dietician

Column: When you eat together, you eat better

Healthy Bites/Serena Caner

Eat together, eat better!

For most children, school mealtimes are a rushed event. At my daughter’s school, she has about 20 minutes to come inside from playing, take off her jacket (and snow pants, and boots…), change into her “indoor shoes,” get her lunch kit and settle at her desk and eat her lunch, without a teacher present in the classroom.

Needless to say, lunch often comes home uneaten.

Compare this with school children in France, who get over an hour to eat a hot lunch prepared by chefs at the school, eaten with real cutlery and conversation around a table. France is known for its lack of obesity despite a diet based on white bread, cheese, meat and wine. French children are also known to eat a wide variety of “adult foods” from a young age, without relying on food shaped like a bunny, goldfish or with a cartoon character on the box.

What research tells us is that food is not only about nutrition. When we eat together, we develop social and communication skills. We learn about sharing and gratitude.

Related: Unplug and cook – Developing kitchen confidence in children

It is well documented that children who dine regularly with their family eat more balanced meals and are less likely to have weight problems. They are less likely to smoke, or use drugs or alcohol. They perform better at school.

Focused mealtimes help prevent disengaged eating and allow us to become more aware of our natural hunger and satiety cues.

Food nourishes, but so does the environment surrounding us when we eat it. At mealtimes food is a connection point, something to be celebrated and explored together.

This year, the Shuswap Food Action Society will be piloting an intergenerational hot lunch program, “Kindie-buddies”, connecting seniors and kindergarteners to prepare and share a meal together one day per week (Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) The focus of the program is about having fun around food and exploring the benefits of eating together. If you are “young at heart,” and are excited by the idea of buddying up with some kindergarten students to enjoy some tasty local food, please email at:

– Serena Caner is a registered dietitian who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Women, girls in Silver Creek demonstrate a creative demand for the vote

One of the women, described as a ‘raging suffragette,’ is the aunt of resident Phil Wright

Okanagan man killed in head-on collision on Highway 1 near Salmon Arm

Police say 21-year-old died at scene after pickup truck collided with transport trailer

After 30 years, Shuswap Lady Striders run stronger than ever

Women’s outdoor fitness, social group celebrates anniversary

Sweet Caroline: Neil Diamond tribute to bring favourites to Shuswap

Jason Scott to put on his Diamond Forever show at the Salmon Arm Legion Oct. 25

VIDEO: #MeToo leader launches new hashtag to mobilize U.S. voters

Tarana Burke hopes to prompt moderators to ask about sexual violence at next debate

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

Okanagan ski hills highlighted on website’s ‘most affordable’ list

HomeToGo looks at rentals, lift passes, accommodations and food to compile list of Top 50

UPDATE: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in U.S. after crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Chase Heat pick up win versus Spokane Braves in weekend road series

Shuswap team unable to down league-leading Beaver Valley Nitehawks

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

Most Read