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April 15, 2024

8 Compelling Reasons to Serve at the Table

If you normally plate your family's dinner in the kitchen, serve at the table instead. This simple shift can make a profound difference in your family's health and make mealtimes more meaningful. Here is why it's worthwhile:

1. Portion Control

Serving at the table helps manage portion control. When you plate your food in the kitchen, you are guessing how much you need to be satisfied, but you can only know for sure once you're eating.

For this reason, bring the food to the table and start with small portions. If you find you're still hungry after one or two servings, you can always have a little more. I always do. Sometimes, just a few more bites is all you need to feel completely satisfied.

2. It's Exciting

Everyone loves seeing a pot or plate of something delicious arrive at the table. It sparks anticipation and heightens the pleasure of the meal. For children, this alone can encourage them to be more interested in coming to the table to eat.

Even when you are pulling a few leftovers together to make a meal, serving at the table makes the meal more exciting.

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Leftover Onion Tarte, Dried Sausage, Roasted Tomato Soup, French Cheese Course, Clementines, and Chocolate for Dessert

3. Reduces Stress and Supports Good Digestion

The time it takes to plate your meal provides a moment to pause and relax. This moment of relaxation reduces stress and activates the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the "rest and digest" state. This state is ideal for digestion.

The opposite is the sympathetic state, known as the "fight-or-flight state." When the body is in the fight-or-flight state, digestion slows or halts to divert the body's energy to fight a perceived threat. Therefore, eating in a stressed or hurried state can sabotage even a healthy meal, as calories can be stored as fat rather than burned for energy.

4. Fosters Respect

When a meal is placed on the table, it is not only more pleasurable and exciting but also fosters respect for food. This appreciation encourages slower eating, which supports digestion and also helps to manage portion control.

5. Promotes Connection and Family Bonding

Once the food is placed on the table, it's time to serve. Serving someone else first is a loving gesture that sets the mood for connecting and sharing. Involving children in serving the meal promotes selflessness and caring for others.

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6. Communication, Social, and Motor Skills

Serving others gives children the opportunity to practice their fine motor skills. Holding the plate while serving the portion and asking, "How much would you like?" " Do you want a little more?" "Sauce on the side or not?" The simple act of serving a plate of food goes a long way in developing these essential skills.       

7. Makes Memories

Some of the most cherished memories are made around the dinner table, and the tradition of serving dinner at the table enhances the experience.            

8. Creates a Valuable Routine

Serving at the table encourages the habit of sitting and eating together. This routine provides stability in the midst of busy schedules. The predictability and comfort of sitting and eating together help your family stay grounded and connected.

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It's Simple and Meaningful

Serving at the table offers impressive benefits, but it doesn't need to be fancy, cost you more time, or require extra dishes to wash.

Simply place the pans or pot on the table on a hot plate or oven mitt, and enjoy. There's no need to transfer the food to a serving dish. Then, if you have any leftovers, place the pot in the fridge, and it will be ready to warm for later.

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“We have made a lot of progress over here under your care. We are now all eating from the same “pot,” which I was surprised how much my kids loved. They were so excited when I put the food in the middle of the table. They asked for it the next day, “Can we do that special fancy dinner thing where we have a feast?” It really is such a better ritual. Passing the food around and all sharing from the same platter, game changer.” - Maggie

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Ham and Cheese Clafoutis

You may also be interested in these articles:

A Conversation Starter That’s Remarkable

The Ultimate Way To Serve Dinner - in Courses

A Meaningful Touch - Napkins and Napkin Rings

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