Don’t just resolve to eat better in the New Year, commit to enjoying meals with others and finding satisfaction with what you eat.
While the focus of nutrition remains on what to eat, and research continues to analyze individual foods, here’s the reality:
In 2017, nutritionists discussed eating for a robust gut macrobiotia, eating more plants, and the benefits of healthy fats. All nutrition worthy goals! Expect me to continue these conversations. However, too often, we fail to mention the importance of satisfaction and social connections. I am a fan of the Meditteranean eating pattern for its emphasis on both physical activity and enjoying food with others.
This past weekend I hosted an oyster roast for family. It was a 3 hour long meal, mostly spent shucking and eating oysters around our kitchen island. It was relaxed. We laughed, sometimes hard, and the focus was more on coming together than on anything else. Rarely do I spend this kind of time at one meal (meals are usually 20 minutes max at our house). But this was different. Our gathering included 3 generations, and was my attempt to do what has been identified as a general longevity factor: building and maintaining solid relationships between family members: parents, siblings , grandparent and others. Interested in eating better in 2018? Stop fighting with food. Stop worrying about food. Embrace gathering around food to enhance bonds. Try integrating into groups that promote and suppport “healthy living” including : family, religious communities, and social groups. Remember, it’s not just about the food.