By: Caroline Lucin, MS, RD at The Renfrew Center of Northern New Jersey
The past few months have been an unusual time and experience for all of us. We abruptly had to stop our typical day-to-day activities and figure out how to adjust, perform tasks and keep schedules while staying home. The new normal has required us to make some big adjustments, and one adjustment some may find difficult is creating a connection at mealtimes.
Connecting with our loved ones or friends during meals on a regular basis can be challenging, but even more so when we have little to talk about in our day-to-day while we attempt to quarantine. How can we make those mealtime experiences more interactive or meaningful?
Since the weather isn’t too cold yet, two ways to help make mealtimes more meaningful are to move a meal outside or incorporate a food theme, like a grilled pizza night! Try having a potluck dinner where everyone “brings” or makes some part of the meal; or, have the whole family pitch in to make a special portion of the meal, like baking biscuits or making pasta from scratch. This can make everyone feel included and connected as you all prepare a meal to share. You may also be able to speak with your family about setting an intention for the meal, like noticing your favorite flavor in the meal, or talking about the highlight of your day!
If you have family members who are spread out across the state or country, set up a Facetime or Zoom session where you share a favorite meal or snack together. It can be hard to connect with our loved ones, especially if they are far away. Having a consistent weekly or biweekly virtual meal might increase your feelings of support and connection!
Caroline works full-time at The Renfrew Center of Northern New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from The University of New Haven and completed her master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetic internship at The College of Saint Elizabeth. Caroline feels passionate about The Renfrew Center’s message and working with her patients to create freedom and flexibility in their food choices and lives.