Life just seems to be a lot busier than it used to be. Sometimes it feels impossible to find a time during the day to pause and take a breath. In the rush to get everything done we have a tendency to mobilize whatever we can in an effort to keep up with this accelerated space. A great way to reclaim our time and take a step back from the day is to restore the tradition of family dinners at the dinner tables. Intentional family dinners benefit the physical heart and the spiritual heart as well.
Intentional family dinners are a great way to bring together all members of a family, especially in multigenerational families. Nothing brings us closer together than a good meal, and spending quality time with the people we love has been proven to increase our sense of wellness by. This is because spending time in conversation offers an opportunity for each member of the family to share their concerns and celebrate moments of joy in a warm, loving environment. People who participate in regular dinners around the table report feeling more loved, higher levels of self-esteem, and reduced stress levels, all benefits for our spiritual hearts.
Planning dinners around the table involves more than simply coordinating a time, which can be a challenge all in itself. Intentional dinner planning offers a unique opportunity for the family to implement some habits that benefit our physical health as well. One of the most heart healthy diets is the Mediterranean diet. This is not a regimented diet, more a set of guidelines to refer back to when trying to be conscious of heart health in meal planning. Mediterranean diets include a lot of fish and lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. Healthy fats are generally considered to be those high in mono-saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil. Remember when adding fats that even healthy fats are high in calories! It is also important to be mindful of salt intake when planning heart healthy meals. For those who aren’t quite ready to give up savory flavors, salt substitutes can be a great alternative.
Simple swaps can be made to just about any meal to increase heart health. At breakfast, try swapping one whole egg out for just the egg whites, or add a side of oatmeal to the morning. Salad dressings with healthy oil bases can be a great way to change up a lunch routine, and whole wheat pasta noodles made a great addition to any side dish. Alaska has some of the best seafood in the world, and having fish at even one dinner per week can be a fun change to the dinner menu. Dinner around the table presents the perfect opportunity to try a new or different heart-healthy dish, and can be easily enjoyed with peace of mind as we nourish the body and the soul.
Starting today, let us embrace our family traditions from childhood and make new traditions and new memories! Life is too short to let us slip by us and a great way to reconnect is at the dinner table. If we can extend our lives by simply making healthier choices then we should all go for it! Let your choices become a lifestyle to be proud of and that make each of us stronger!
For more articles related to senior health, check out the rest of our blog. And if you or a loved one is in need of companionship for seniors in Anchorage, Matanuska-Susitna or the surrounding areas, let Midnight Sun Home Care help. Contact us today at (907) 677-7890 to learn more!