By Meagan Couto

I was once told that homes are like hotels. Family members walk into the dining area separately and pick out whatever they want to eat in the moment, grabbing their own plate and go on their merry way (possibly somewhere that has a television). While I feel as if this supports bio-individuality (being able to ingest the foods each body needs in the moment), I also feel like this has created a separation and prevented us from joining together around the importance of our meals. Where did this version of a hotel-home come from? Why do we do things separately as a family? Even for roommates, this still applies.

As social creatures and yes, animals, we were born to work together to keep our food supply abundant. We sowed together. We harvested together. We smashed acorns together. And if we didn’t, if we ventured off on our own to find our own food supply it was typically due to a hoarding mentality of not knowing when our next meal was to come. This caused distrust within tribes. Today, rather than hiding food in small caves, we sneak into the kitchen and grab a quick bite here or there. However, the refrigerator is stocked… so what’s the deal? There is an abundance of food in this convenient lifestyle. We are by no means deprived of options, however, we are deprived of nutrients. This malnutrition causes our bodies to go into starvation mode and make poor food choices, as well as solo missions to the kitchen.

So how do we pull ourselves out of this habit? Try cooking together. When your time is short and you’re ultra sleepy, help each other out. By cooking together as a family or roommates, you eat sooner than when you prepare food alone. Not faster… but sooner. My husband and I used to trade nights cooking in order to catch a break. We learned it wasn’t a break that we needed but an easier method of preparing food without sacrificing nutrition. Now we cook healthful meals together and have fun while we cut down our cooking time by 30 minutes (more relaxing time afterwards)! With extra help in the kitchen you can even cook more food; cook once eat twice. If you live with stubborn folks, don’t worry, they’ll eventually come around when they realize they are getting food on time. Just be consistent. You will be able to slow down and appreciate the meal and your body will finally be more rested in knowing that you are not starving or fighting to survive anymore.

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