Gone are the days when we we sat down together at the kitchen table for meals!
More than half of the meals we eat are eaten completely alone – whether at work or school due to busy lifestyles, technology and on-the-go demands.
But have you ever considered what eating alone does to our health and our environment?
Trent University students gathered at the Seasoned Spoon on Wednesday September 13th to discuss this topic and hosted a workshop to search for solutions, such as food sharing & menu planning.
Organizers, Meghan Johnny and Caitlin Bragg, wanted to raise awareness about the social & environmental benefits of eating together – and how eating alone can lead to depression, social isolation, and anxiety and can even be responsible for insufficient nutrients in our diet.
The group discussed food alternatives and ideas on how to explore new recipes, diets and healthy eating options – and how to make time to share meals together.
We learned that eating with others provides the opportunity for:
- belonging to the community
- social support
- increased enjoyment of food.
The group of students also touched on the important environmental benefits of sharing food – including:
- producing less food waste in the kitchen by buying bulk
- planning to eat meals before they go bad
- planning to buy local food products
- exploring vegan/vegetarian options
By sharing meal plans, grocery shopping, recipes, cooking/cleaning responsibilities, and storing/organizing tasks, groups can help ensure healthy meals are prepared and consumed.
In addition, meal sharing can help establish coordinated times to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner together and make eating a more enjoyable time of the day!
As the new Canadian Food Guide places more emphasis on vegetarian diets and less emphasis on meat-dominant meals, meal planning & sharing is a great way to help ease this transition.
The group placed an emphasis on exploring vegetarian and vegan food options that help individuals get the right nutrients.
Meal planning and meal sharing helps people:
- buy local foods
- buy products in bulk
- save time
- select proper portion sizes
- reduce packaging
- reduce food waste
To help educate people about their food choices, meal plans can also include where each ingredient comes from and how much it costs!
So spice up your diet this fall – and get a group together to meal plan & meal share!
Thank you for having us Meghan and thank you to all who attended the workshop!