Since the beginning of time we’ve needed food for survival, but mealtimes are a different situation entirely. It’s always been a ritual – from gossiping with friends, to bonding with family, to a bit of time to just simply ‘be’.
But in a 21st century super-paced world, our sense of sentimentality towards the dining table is dwindling. From desk lunches to coinciding the Deliveroo arrival with our Netflix finale, we’re distancing ourselves from the dining table.
In a campaign to reclaim it, Furniture Village has commissioned a survey revealing over half of us eat at our desks or sofa more than anywhere else, with 31% of us eating at the table once a week and 12% of us not at all. Though 58% of us agree it’s important for spending time with family and friends, it’s simply not being reflected in our actions… so why should we bring this habit back into our lives?
- A better diet
Sofa or dining table, what’s the big difference? In fact, it seems the allure of the TV set could be causing an appetite for junk food and a neglect for nutrients.
Samantha Paget (Registered Food Nutritionist) says that eating away from the dining table increases the temptation to ‘grab something that’s easier to eat with one hand or on your lap’.
And in fact, 23% of Londoners are now treating themselves to takeaways 4-6 times per week, with 23% of the UK confessing the meals we eat the most are pre-packed ready meals. This isn’t all – eating away from the dining table is leading to overeating, with many of us disconnecting from our innate physical sensations such as hunger and fullness.
- Improving our mental health
Whether it’s the 1 in 4 of us working late hours and not eating regularly, or over half of us that are simply too busy to stick to dinner at the dining table – it’s taking its toll.
With so much time spent eating at our desks or in the car or on the tube, we are struggling to be present. Eating on-the-go can lead to negative feelings of stress and anxiety. And according to Dr Lucia Giombini, we develop these same feelings through eating alone.
Being mindful of our meal gives us a moment to ourselves and in turn a healthier mindset.
- Strengthening our social interactions
Sitting down at the dining table is often the one time of day we get to spend together without distractions. By designating a space set out for this purpose, we can detox from our digital possessions and socialise like we are supposed to.
70% of us recognise eating at the dining table positively affects our family relationships, as well as 38% believing it benefits child development. So why are so many of us slacking?
Family Therapist Reenee Singh encourages us make the change: “Sitting around a dining table without digital distractions can provide an opportunity for the whole family to talk about their day. Children can learn good table manners and the art of having a conversation whilst eating, and can also develop an appreciation for good food.”
So, eating healthy is about more than the food we eat — it’s beneficial for the body, mind and social interactions. Will you be bringing the dining table back into your life? It certainly offers some food for thought, and we know where we’ll be eating tonight…
You can read the whole survey here.