Embrace the Joy of Shared Meals After 60 – You’d Be Surprised at the Benefits!
After 60 many of us live alone, and not always by choice. In my work as a health coach many women share that the hardest time of day is the dinner hour, because it just doesn’t feel so good to sit alone at the table.
Because I value the power of nutrition to energize us, especially in our later years, I work hard at convincing these women that a cheap frozen dinner, a box of take-out or a bag of popcorn will not support their goal of living a long and healthy life. And besides, we all deserve better than that.
We would never serve a paltry meal to a guest so why should we serve it to ourselves? Alternatively, eating out is expensive, can feel lonely, and doesn’t tell you much about the quality of the food you’re eating.
One Bunch of Smart Women
This past weekend I was invited to meet with a group of women who look for many ways to make food and the environment cleaner. These women are smart and expressive in stating their goals for health and wellness.
However, some of them also believed that cooking a highly nutritious meal took a lot of time and was expensive.
At the start of our gathering the host updated the guests on the latest findings on cookware and the dangerous compounds in Teflon coatings. Consensus was stainless steel, cast iron, and tempered glass are the best for cooking.
I was asked to share some of the key topics in my book, Food Becomes You – Simple Steps for Lifelong Wellness.
In the book, I provide shopping lists, stories of people who improved their health when they changed their food (including me), along with menu plans and many recipes. The book is conversational in tone and easy to follow.
From there, this group of 10 headed for the kitchen. I had planned a meal in advance for them, but wanted the prep to be a shared experience so everyone could see how simple it really is to prepare a nutritious meal.
Two women chopped up parsnips while another put them in a pot to boil; another took the 10 pieces of salmon out of its 30-minute soak in a marinade of liquid aminos, ginger, garlic, and honey and placed them on a baking sheet.
One rinsed baby spinach as another heated up a steaming pot. Yet another cut up apples that were to be baked for dessert.
There was chatter, story-telling about meal planning, and a great sense of camaraderie in the kitchen as the food was cooking. In the end, we drained the vegetables and whipped up the parsnips with some nutmeg, garlic, and butter. Then it was time to eat.
This delicious, nutritious meal contained a bitter green and a sweet vegetable along with omega-3 rich seafood and organic wine. What it also contained was a sense of communion with women who know the value of quality food and the shared experience of preparing it.
The cost for everything was $12 per person. I mention the cost only to show you it is easy to eat healthy on a budget and far less than a restaurant meal.
What Do You Do to Make Mealtime Pleasant?
Back to being alone after 60. If this is hard for you and keeps you from preparing a good meal for yourself, reach out to neighbors, friends, or family if they are nearby and plan some meals together.
Taking turns hosting gives us all a reason to tidy up and bring life and energy into our kitchens. You can prepare everything yourself or make it a shared experience like we did.
The physical act of eating is only one part of the experience of nourishing yourself; sharing this sacred experience with others gives you time to savor the tastes and aromas circling around your table. If you need some new recipes, check out a few of my favorite gems here.
What would it take for you to cook more and eat out less? Have you tried shared meals with friends? Please join the conversation!