Happy Nutrition Month!
Each year, for the month of March, dietitians celebrate food and nutrition, and what it means for individuals and communities across Canada. Food has the potential to do so many things: it fuels us and supports health and wellness; through food we can discover, whether it’s learning a new recipe or exploring new tastes; and one of food’s greatest gifts is its potential to bring us together. What does eating together mean to you?
I’ve recently moved to Northern BC to start a new role as a dietitian with Northern Health’s Population Health team. In the last few months, I’ve been building my social network in Prince George, and many of the connections I’ve been making are over a shared meal. Whether it’s gathering for a weekend potluck, eating lunch with co-workers, or meeting new friends for brunch, coming together often happens over food. Food supports conversation (it’s not often that you find a quiet brunch table!). Gathering over a meal is a time to connect: to share stories, discuss current events, reflect on your week, or maybe even learn something new.
Food creates more than social connections
Even if I’m sitting down to a cozy meal for one, by taking the time to prepare food for myself, I am celebrating meal time, and connecting both to myself and to the food I am preparing.
In these ways, eating together supports our physical, emotional and mental wellness by:
- Connecting us to our own and other’s land, traditions and cultures
- Connecting us to our communities
- Building lifelong memories
- Creating social connection
- Teaching and learning new skills (especially true if you prepare a meal with others!)
- Exploring a variety of foods – (nothing invites variety quite like a potluck!)
…meals are much more than just food and function, facts and figures. Meals are about culture and tradition. Meals are about love and harmony. Meals are about friendship and fun…meals are about family.” – Better Together BC
Food has the potential to connect us
Coming together around food can mean many things. If you’re thinking about ways to eat together more, consider starting with small steps:
- Share a snack with friends during a hike or walk; snacking in nature may lead to interesting discussion!
- Set aside at least one night or morning per week to eat together as a family, or add one more meal time to your current schedule (e.g. eat three meals together instead of two).
- Plan a Saturday potluck with friends, and provide the recipe for your dish; this is sure to strike up some conversation!
What does eating together look like for you?
This March, join us in the Nutrition Month Eating Together Photo Challenge: share a picture of yourself eating together with family, friends, or colleagues, along with a short message explaining how you feel food brings you together.
Read how food brings other Northern Health employees together:
- Kelly Bogh recounts some of her fondest memories of visiting her grandmother.