I don’t have time to… exercise, prepare my meals. I have found time to… check my Facebook, watch tv, and go out to dinner. I schedule my hair appointment, dentist appointment… What is most likely to get completed, a deadline assignment or an elective task?
How often are things that are not part of a day’s schedule completed?
Have you ever not made time to feed your companion animals? They are certainly creatures of habit. Despite not wearing a watch, they know exactly what time it is. I am sorry Vinnie the cat, I am too tired to make your dinner. How about a treat? That never happens. Yet many pull through the drive through window each evening derailing their nutrition and sabotaging family mealtime. How much energy and nutrition is derived from a Whopper and fries? Will it nurture you family’s health and give them energy?
We know we are going to consume food every day and usually multiple times, and we talk and hear about food all day long. Yet, most people don’t plan their meals. I’ll just grab something when I get hungry is the usual thought process. We started out hunting and gathering our food so our day was consumed by meal preparation. Eventually, someone was assigned to stay at home and prepare food when the outside workers came home. Then everyone left the house and the food preparation job become less clear. It became a potential conflict. When is mealtime and who should be there? Lives became busy and mealtime became less important. Outside activities took precedent. There became prepared foods and takeout, and then drive throughs. Cooking became a job that could be delegated. Cooking for ones family used to be a source of pride and satisfaction, but now it is more likely a chore. Have you ever worked hard to prepare a meal and it was consumed without appreciation so fast that you questioned your efforts? Have you ever spent a lot of time making something special that got bad reviews? How many times do you get a thank you for your efforts to purchase and prepare food? Who would volunteer for such a thankless job? What about having a meal prepared only to have people show up late and the food is ruined? That makes the evening grand. The kitchen is closed! Fix it yourself! Next thing you know, takeout bags are lining the table. Better yet, just eat in the car on the way home. These are not choices of health.
I have a theory that I came up with while riding my bike and seeing numerous fast food bags littered alongside the road. I believe that people go through the drive through on the way home and ditch the bag so no one will know what they consumed. Going to be late anyhow, might as well have something on the way home and avoid the dinner hassle.
It is the attitude that has to change. Preparing a meal is a time to ensure the health of your family. There is not a more important job other than safety. It is the onetime of the day to spend with your family not being interrupted. It is a time to look each other in the eye and communicate. No one ever regrets the time spent with family. There are 6,205 potential dinners with a child that lives at home 17 years. After that, there are 152 potential major holiday dinners left if you live to be 85 years old. How many of those do you expect they will attend if you miss most of the 6,205 chances?
Mealtime is special, and the food should reflect that. Made with care does not mean complicated. It should mean, made nutritiously to ensure the health of your family. It will require thought and planning. It does not have to include stress and expense. We have “go to” meals that are easily made but colorful and tasty. Somedays allow more time for trying new recipes. You can jot down a weeks menu ideas on the weekend and shop for the ingredients ahead of time eliminating the need to grocery shop daily. Schedule mealtime so that everyone can attend. Respect the person’s time preparing a meal, and show up on time. Gratitude goes a long way as well as helping with the clean up. Children eat and behave at the dinner table how they were taught. It is a learned and an important skill. They are not chefs or nutrition experts and should not be in charge of the menu planning or have separate meals prepared for them. Healthy children become healthy adults. Healthy adults are productive people.
The job of the cook is one of the most important jobs in the family. Take it on with pride and responsibility. You don’t have time not to. To you health!