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How Sharing a Meal with Friends and Neighbors Improves Eating Habits and Mood

a group of seniors eat and drink together

Sharing mealtime with family or friends is one of the things we look forward to most in life. We tell each other about our day, we let people know what we’re thinking, and we listen to the stories and opinions of those we care about. Eating together is the perfect reason to gather, to unplug, and to strengthen the connection between us.

But so often we find ourselves rushing from one task to the next, and we don’t always have time to make mealtime a priority. It’s common to have to eat quickly so we can get on with our day, or even to eat while driving to our next appointment.

Sometimes, having a meal by yourself in front of the TV can provide you with some well-earned private time. But eating together makes a meal an occasion. Just about every important event or holiday is celebrated by gathering together for a meal. It’s one of the most common ways we express our culture, cultivate our relationships, and feel a sense of community.

The Emotional Health Benefits of Eating Together

Studies suggest that people who eat meals together are less likely to suffer from depression. People who feel more trusting of the people around them tend to be happier, and eating together strengthens trust among people. There’s a deeply rooted trust we express when we eat food that’s been given to us by someone else.

Many people gather to eat with family, but not everyone has the luxury of family living close enough to eat together regularly. Having a community of friends and neighbors around us is also fulfilling and important for our happiness. When the people around us care about us, it reminds us to care about ourselves. We’re more likely to have feelings of self-worth. This leads to healthier decisions, like preventive doctor visits, more frequent exercise, and even healthier eating habits, especially when people eat together. 

The Physical Health Benefits of Eating Together

It’s no secret that spending time with people you care about is good for your spirit. And years of study have shown the positive effects of socializing on your overall mental and physical health. But more and more studies prove eating together has specific health benefits. This is particularly important when it comes to senior nutrition.

Recent studies have shown that people who eat more meals alone have a higher risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and a condition called metabolic syndrome (MetS). MetS is a group of health issues that includes insulin resistance, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other metabolic abnormalities that older adults are particularly susceptible to. The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees that MetS is the cause of a growing number of premature deaths throughout the world.

Food is part of the foundation of our health, and making healthy choices when we eat is critically important. When a meal is prepared that is intended for a group of people, the ingredients tend to be of higher quality and nutritional value. And people tend to make healthier choices when they eat as part of a group, in comparison to when they eat alone. Those meals we sometimes eat when we’re in a rush are so often fast food or from other convenient, less healthy sources.

Eating Together at Heritage Senior Living

Heritage communities have professional culinary teams dedicated to providing exciting, expertly prepared meals every day. Our focus is on senior nutrition, balance, quality and so much more. Our residents look forward to a wonderful dining experience every day, where they know they’ll enjoy fresh, homemade favorites, and a gathering of neighbors and friends. 

Our assisted living and memory care communities offer three chef-prepared meals every day, and our independent living residents can enjoy one meal, plus additional meals for purchase.

Great food with great friends is something everybody loves, and at Heritage Senior Living communities, you’ll be able to look forward to eating together, and enjoy all its benefits to your health and wellness, every day.

To learn more about the quality dining experiences available at Heritage Senior Living, contact us.

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