When you get the chance to live in different parts of the world, you also get the opportunity to learn more about people and their habits. I read a post the other day on a blog written by a Swede living abroad who wrote about her eating habits and how these have changed since she moved. Man tar seden dit man kommer. I am happy to say that we have kept our breakfast habits. Cinnamon buns and doughnuts still feel like afternoon “fika” to us.
Food is an incredibly big part of our daily lives, not only as fuel but also as enjoyment. It is a great joy that brings people together and can give a lot of pleasure. It is relaxing to cook and eat. And I am aware that food and eating can be extremely negative and problematic for many. I enjoy cooking, not every day but when I have time and imagination. It is easy to get a bit stuck. But I am happy to see that the kids spontaneously bake and cook when they have time, without being asked.
At our house it is extremely important that we as a family eat together. To grab something on the run, instead of sitting down eating dinner is nothing that is ok to do. Food also affects the level of stress in children. And as we all know, stress affects the whole body, even the brain. We usually eat late since the kids all have evening practices. But better late and together than all five on different times.
You have a responsibility as an adult, kid’s watch you eat. If you set a good example and keep an open mind they notice that. If you are picky they get picky. And there is nothing that you fix in a day, it takes time. And I am by no means perfect, the opposite. But I like food and I actually think that I’ve managed to pass it on the kids. I am really proud of them making good choices and very rarely complaining about their food allergies.
Eating together as a family, regardless how your family is composed, is so much more than just eating. The conversation and the behavior is as important. Think about it when you have small children. I have never been a supporter of separate children’s tables, and I know my kids don’t like that either. Or how about when you feed the kids and then set the table and eat when the kids are asleep. Not very good.
Many restaurants here have children’s menus which is great for your wallet. (It also usually occupy the kids a little bit before the food arrives.) What is negative with all these children’s menus are that the food they offer is often French fries, fried chicken tenders and pizza without toppings? No wonder that many kids are a little fussy when they are not used to be served real food.
One of my absolute favorite foods are Moules Marinière, mussels cooked in white wine, garlic, parsley and onion. I think I ate that one or two days per week when I lived in Brussels 20 years ago. With herbed fries and mayo. This Saturday we went to one of our favorite restaurants in Seattle and I hear one of my kids order this dish in French, eating the whole thing and smiling. Awesomeness!