When did you last see your dining table cleared of books, magazines, fruit bowls and other random bits and pieces?
Chances are it was a while ago, as eating at the table has become a rarity in many homes, apart from on special occasions. In fact a fifth of homes in the UK don’t even have a dining table or special place to sit and eat.
It’s really common for people to eat meals in the living room in front of the TV or sitting at a computer; and wherever they sit they usually have a handheld device to check messages or surf the net.
But why does eating at the table matter?
Firstly, sitting at a table improves your seated posture and helps digestion, slumping on an armchair or sofa with a meal on your lap or on a tray, or slouching in front of a computer isn’t the best position to help food‘godown’.
It also matters because TVs and computers, phones and iPads, magazines and books take your mind off the food, so before you know it the food is gone and you haven’t even tasted it. Moreover it’ll be easier to eat more than you need, because you’re tuned out to your body’s natural fullness signals.
Love and respect
Eating at the table gives food the love and respect it deserves. You make a nice meal so it’s only right to sit with it properly and pay it some undivided attention. Eating at home is just as important as eating in a restaurant, it’s your restaurant, and you wouldn’t check your phone or watch telly if you were eating out, hopefully.
Specialness, manners and sociability
Eating is a special part of the day, an opportunity to relax and unwind; and if you eat with others it’s a chance to be sociable, catch up on the day and chat without having a TV hogging the limelight. Togetherness while sharing food is one of life’s great pleasures. If you have children it helps them to learn table manners and the lifeskill of social eating and interaction. They’re also more likely to eat a wider range of foods when adults are there encouraging them, rather than them eating alone in front of the telly or in their room.
So if you don’t already eat at the table, try it! It’s special and makes the whole eating experience so much nicer.