Keeping Dinnertime Positive, Encouraging, and Fun

Eating Together Can Help Promote a Healthy Lifestyle Eating Together Can Help Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

Sharing meals together is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle. Here are some great tips for making mealtimes positive and encouraging for everyone.

Share Meals Together

One great way to promote a healthy eating lifestyle within your family is to share at least one meal together each day.  Mealtimes allow families to enjoy planning, preparing and eating healthy food together.  Mealtimes are also a great time to grow closer as a family. In my family, some of our fondest memories are made during Dinnertime.  We intentionally try to make this time positive and encouraging for everyone.

What Was Your Favorite Part of the Day?

During most meals, I purposefully ask each family member what their favorite part of the day was.  This encourages each person to think of and share something positive.  Very often, the responses are something like, "Walking to the store with you dad," "Waking up and seeing the sunshine," or "When my brother took me outside to play baseball." Almost without fail, the responses lead to even more encouraging conversation as we naturally share "why" these were our favorite parts of the day.  Even the younger children enjoy sharing.

Some great follow-up questions are "What was your biggest challenge of the day?," and "What do you hope to accomplish tomorrow?"

One of My Favorite Memories of You...

We also enjoy telling stories about fun and funny times we've shared together.  For example, I will pick one child each evening or so and share a fun memory I have with them.  Like their first day of school, what was going on the day they were born, or the time they were 3 and pulled just enough toilet paper from the holder to place the end in the toilet, flushed, and giggled as the roll quickly "un"rolled.  Other family members will almost always join in with their favorite memories of that child.  He or she becomes the center of attention (in a healthy way) and receives encouragement from others.

Keep It Casual and Fun

These questions promote great conversation and help keep dinnertime a positive experience.  And it doesn't have to be rigid, awkward, or forced.  Keep it casual, lighthearted, and fun.  Allow for some goofiness and laughter.  The important thing is to keep it positive and encouraging.  You'll create a mealtime environment that will make your family want to be there.  

Brian DeLay

Brian DeLay is an airline pilot living in the Midwest with his wife and three children. As an avid runner and cyclist he has completed numerous half-marathons, marathons, and cycling "century" rides, and serves as the race director for the Run for the Ridge 5K. His favorite activities are those he shares with his family. Visit Brian on Google+