It might seem easier to run to the nearest fast food restaurant or grab lunch and eat it at your desk (hurriedly, of course, because of the dozens of emails flooding your inbox that all demand attention right now). But it might be time to slow down. Wellbeing considers all aspects of your life, and this includes how – and with whom – you share your meals.
Families who eat together, eat better
Research shows that children who eat dinner with their families tend to have more healthful eating habits – they make better food choices and are less likely to develop abnormal eating behaviors. Creating a healthy relationship with food can be increasingly difficult in today’s world, where faster is deemed better. This applies to the workspace too – taking even 20 minutes for lunch with coworkers creates space for conversation in a relaxed atmosphere, fosters a sense of community, adds value to our lives, builds relationships, and supports eating mindfully.
…But it takes so much work!
Everyone, it appears, is always busy. Just as you take time to sleep and exercise, setting time aside to cook and share a meal with other people can promote healthy eating behaviors and can be a great way to share your day and relax with friends or family. Here are some tips for a great meal together:
- Plan ahead! If you want a get-together to happen, make sure everyone is available
- Carve out a specific day (the first Friday of the month) and plan to eat together
- Make it fun – go to famer’s markets, swap recipes, make the experience of cooking as exciting as the meal itself
- Choose a theme – Make a dinner party theme and have people prepare food around that theme
Staying connected at work and at home
Meals together don’t need to be fancy or highly structured. Choose times that work for you – whether it be breakfast or lunch with coworkers, dinner with friends – and you might find some work inspiration or life encouragement in between bites of a delicious meal.
Easy Dinner Party: Eggplant Meatballs with Marinara
Ingredients (makes 4 servings)
1 small eggplant
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cooked white beans, smashed with a fork
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil or parsley
1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper
1 cup whole-wheat panko-style breadcrumbs
2 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the eggplant on top. Using a fork, prick the eggplant 4 times then roast until collapsed, 40-50 minutes.
- Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh (discard the skin). Place the eggplant flesh in a medium bowl and stir in the egg and beans. Add the garlic, basil, parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and stir to combine, then mix in the breadcrumbs.
- Line the rimmed baking sheet with a clean sheet of foil and lightly mist it with cooking spray. Shape the eggplant mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball. Place them on the prepared baking sheet and lightly mist the top of the balls with spray. Bake the eggplant balls until they are golden brown and firm, about 20 minutes.
- Warm the marinara sauce in a small saucepan. Remove the meatballs from the oven, sprinkle with extra parmesan and serve with the marinara sauce.
Nutrition Facts for meatballs: Cal 200 Fat 6g Sat Fat 2.5g Carbs 26g Fib 7g Sugar 3g Pro 14g Sod 530mg Chol 65mg