February is the month where we celebrate Valentine’s Day with our loved ones. Love starts with the heart and it probably isn’t coincidence that February was picked to be healthy heart month. According to the American Heart Association, one of the ways to have a healthy heart is to eat together as a family. Yes, enjoying at least 20 minutes eating together for three to five times weekly has many benefits. One documented benefit is eating healthier foods; healthy foods lead to health hearts.
Make family meal time a routine by planning ahead. Get a calendar out and mark the days the family will eat together. Treat it like exercise (another way to have a healthy heart), start small and increase the number of days from there. Stay with the schedule and make sure everyone knows about it. Print a message out and put it where everyone can see it—refrigerators and mirrors are good places. If you can’t get together during the work week, plan a weekend meal together. The idea is to focus on each other, take a break from the phones and television during meal time. Make the conversation silly, laugh during the meal. Studies have shown the dietary habits are determined at a young age and are maintained later in life. If dietary habits are determined while young and maintained, we will assume the obesity rate of children (19% in 2018) will decrease in less than a generation. With this decrease, the obesity and heart disease rate in adults will decrease and our hearts will love us for it.
For this month of LOVE, lets show the love to our family and eat together as a family. Enjoy meal time with each other and get to know each other. Laugh, be silly at the table. Create a healthy heart with each other.
Jerry Parmeley, MBA