“We’re going out to eat tonight”, one of the most pleasant phrases someone can hear at the end of the workday. Whether you’re a busy spouse with hungry children and an overworked partner to feed, or just someone who is frustrated with always trying to come up with a unique meal idea that everyone will like. Then there is all that effort. Gathering the ingredients required for the meal, preparing everything in a hot kitchen, presenting your creation to an unenthusiastic family, then, the cherry on the sundae…….you have to clean the pots, pans and dishes!
Meals have always been an American tradition, a time when the family can all sit down in one place at one time, enjoy food and conversation. The sad part is, this tradition is slowly dying. Often both spouses work, sometimes vastly different schedules. Little Billy has to skip dinner due to hockey practice or Sister Katie needs to be at the Brownie meeting no later than 6:00pm. It’s a fact of our busy lifestyle, dinner time with family is definitely on the Endangered Species List!
This is really a shame. Everyone is so caught up in email, personal computers, Ipod’s, and Twitter, but it seems we’ve all lost the fine art of real conversation and an enjoyable meal. Don’t get me wrong! I love my Ipod, my Facebook, and I don’t think I would be able to live without checking my email, but I’ve still found a way to preserve dinner and conversation with my family.
How? At least once a week, regardless of everything else going on in the hectic world around us, we go out to eat. It’s a requirement, a Family Date. Sometimes we choose a fine dining establishment, other times a pizza parlor, even our own BnDz Restaurant. The location really isn’t the main point. The time we set aside is. Everyone in the family looks forward to our weekly “date”. This doesn’t mean that we never eat at our dining room table. In fact, 9 times out of 10 we are all present at dinner. The results from going out are just…..better. Most likely it’s because all the pressure is off the chef: will everyone like what I just cooked? What a mess we have to clean up! And no Billy, you can’t be excused!
I suggest you give it a try. One night out of the week. Take your family out for a meal. You don’t have to break the bank to do this, but even if you did, and they all ordered the Surf & Turf at Chateau Wherever, you’ll look back on these precious family dates and perhaps come to the same realization that I did. Meals and Family are important.
As a parent, how often have you heard those words from your children? Let me ask another question….when you were a youngster, how many times did those words come out of your mouth? As adults, we’re all aware of the health benefits vegetables offer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we all take advantage of our greens. Why is that?
Well, my opinion is a majority of this has to do with conditioning. We remember how healthy foods were a requirement at all of our meals, whether it was from school lunches or to what our parents served us at the dinner table. Who wouldn’t rather have pizza than broccoli? The funny thing is, as they say, with age comes wisdom. We even learn to like, maybe even love, foods we steered away from when we were younger. A well made fresh salad can be even more delicious than pasta!
Vegetarian diets offer several benefits: lower intake of saturated fat, less cholesterol, higher intake of fiber as well as more vitamins and complex carbohydrates. Plus, vegetables are grown from the earth! They’ve been around forever, unlike The McRib!
Speaking of which, a well made Veggie Burger can be a masterpiece to behold, often tasting better than it’s meat filled equivalent (at least here at BandD’z!) Healthy eating, specifically the vegetarian lifestyle, doesn’t have to be bland and tasteless. Next time you have the option of pizza or a chicken parm sandwich, banish those childhood beliefs and consider a healthy vegetarian alternative. There’s a good chance you may just realize, as is often the case, your parents knew what they were talking about!