How to Elevate Eating at Home

5 daily rituals to transform dining from necessity to rite.

 minute read
 This content was developed in partnership with Conscious City Guide.

In a time of considerable uncertainty, we look to the life-sustaining power of food for comfort. From a loaf of fresh banana bread to a sweet potato sourdough galette, we’ve seen a global community of positivity seekers step up to the digital table with abundant provisions. This display of confection demonstrates that our relationship with food goes way beyond the perfunctory. We have the choice to make every meal that much more special – to turn what is an essential part of being a human into both a privilege and a right. Engaging in daily rituals around dining can deepen our connection with our food and increase our gratitude. How do we elevate meal time to get there? 

Know its origins 

Understanding where our food comes from is an impactful first step. Knowing what it took for that stem of broccoli or that wheel of cheese to get to our table helps us reduce waste. By mapping the origin of our food, we gain insight into how it was created. We pause and think of the farmers who harvest the food, the soil that fed our produce and the effort it took for a single seedling to push its way to the surface. In doing so we are less inclined to waste; we have acknowledged the hard work and human effort without which that which nourishes us wouldn’t exist. 

Know its breadth 

Another sustainable ritual that helps reduce stress around dining is finding inspiration in what we have in our fridge or pantry. If we make use of what we have by starting our shopping trip at home, we can avoid buying unnecessary items. A loose beet can be the foundation for a carpaccio, garlic skins can be roasted into crispy salad toppings, and coffee grounds can be the perfect rub for wild salmon. 

Know its potential for connection

When it comes to putting together a meal, we can make the preparation a part of the ritual by partnering up. Whether or not we consider cooking and washing up labors of love, they can feel like solitary tasks. By sharing in the process, we get to mutually revel in the accomplishments. We can use this opportunity to connect with those we care about, share our ideas, and create positive memories around both the meal, and the  preparation process it takes to get there.  

Know its ritual 

How we eat is nearly as important as what we eat. Setting aside our devices and making the conscious choice to be present can transform our dining experiences. Our tables, big or small, are our opportunities to create an occasion. Clearing away the day’s debris, picking wildflowers, and choosing our favourite placemat can help set the scene. When we sit at a beautifully-set table, we sit with intention. Setting our table is a way of symbolically making a time and place to slow down and feed our spirits. In doing so, we show appreciation for the food that we are about to consume.

Know its capacity for mindfulness 

One restorative dining ritual is that of mindful eating. Mindfulness in eating starts far before our first bite. In this ritual, we are encouraged to come to the table with an appetite, but not famished. Why? So that we can be present while we eat, and savor our food. In mindfulness, we are taught to pause before eating, take deep breaths, and take stock of where we are – and how we’re feeling. We’re taught to give thanks for the provisions before us and to stay in a state of gratitude throughout our meal. Every meal is an invitation to engage in appreciation. In creating rituals around our food, we choose to recognize this essential aspect of our lives as the gift that it rightfully is.

Photo courtesy of Alleksana Photography.

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