Family Meal Month Challenge

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Join us in Family Meal Month Challenge.  #IDMealMonthAugust is Family Meal Month. At InDependent, we are huge fans of the family meal even though we know that our families might not look like the traditional American family. Family doesn't have to mean children are in the picture. Family doesn't have to mean relation by marriage or blood. For those of us living the military lifestyle, family simply means those whom you choose to invite into your inner circle. Sharing a meal is a way to strengthen bonds with other people.

I've been working at my current yoga studio for about seven months now. Last weekend, another instructor invited me to her birthday party. My husband was TDY so it meant a lot to me that she also invited my daughter and encouraged me to have her bring a friend so my daughter wouldn't be the only kid at the party. Then, she emailed me the menu before the party indicating which dishes were vegetarian or vegan and she gave a head's up on one of the homemade ice creams that contained alcohol. Having her pay so much attention to my circumstances really meant a lot. And, sharing a table with other people from the studio in such a caring environment made me feel like we were taking great strides toward creating an amazing work family.

Coming together for a family meal is getting lost as we try to pack more and more into our schedules. And, as military families, the unfortunate reality is that our spouses are often not home at mealtimes, if at all. Starting August 1, 2015, over in our InDependent | Nutrition Facebook group, we're hosting a one-week challenge to help you prioritize the family meal, and kick off Family Meal Month right. Each day, we'll post a daily challenge. If you're a military spouse, and you're not a member of the group already, please request to join the group so you can participate.

There are many scientific reasons why your family benefits from sharing a meal together, particularly dinner, but I really like how Abi Ray, the creative director for milspouse-owned company R. Riveter, put it in an Instagram post:

"What I love most about being intentional when preparing meals in this season is that it becomes nurturing not only for the body but also for the soul. When we take a break from our busy lives and open our homes to gather around the table, we create a safe place for loved ones to be heard."

To be heard. We could all use some more of that! Commit now to making August all about the family meal. Use #IDFamilyMeal in social media to show us what you are eating and with whom.

Is there room for improvement in your family meal routine? What's going well? What could be better?