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A Ritual to Reclaim Dinner

Games at the dinner table


Rather than thinking of dinnertime as a chore, create nightly dinner rituals to connect more with the loved ones around your table.

Instead of thinking about dinner as a distraction or a chore, use it as a sacred time to relax, connect, and recharge. Because, at its core, dinner is about human connection: to one another, to our food, and to ourselves. It’s an act of feeding ourselves well, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too.

And when your food can stay simple and still delicious, you have more time and energy to focus on what really matters—the people around your table and having time and space to be fully present with those you love.

Create nightly dinner rituals to keep things more lighthearted and fun. Some ideas:

Mind-set check—repeat after me: “Cooking dinner more consistently is one of the best forms of self-care I can do for myself and others.”

Try a question bowl with fun questions for each person around the table to answer, or pick a theme for each day of the week and have everyone around the table chime in.

Assign jobs to the people around your nightly dinner table: filling water glasses, setting the table, lighting candles, picking the playlist, peeling carrots, boiling water, heating up leftovers, mixing salad dressing, getting out condiments, and so on.

Dining alone: A beautiful thing to behold—you get to call the shots, to pick exactly what you feel that your body needs the most. So, sit at the table. Light a candle. Pick your music. And know that feeding yourself well is a gift and an act of self-love and respect.

Prep your ingredients in batches, so your nightly routine becomes more about assembling what you’ve got instead of starting from scratch.

Keep it simple: one-pot or one-pan meals are always my go-to. Plus, there are fewer dishes to wash later. Dinner doesn’t have to be fancy, or wildly different from night to night, unless you want it to be.

Excerpted from Simply Real Eating. Copyright 2020 by Sarah Adler. Photographs copyright 2020 by Carina Skrobecki Photography. Reproduced by permission of The Countryman Press. All rights reserved.

Try Sarahs easy recipe for Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto.

About the Author

Sarah Adler is a nutrition coach and the founder of Simply Real Health: a healthy lifestyle company, food blog, cookbooks...

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