Benefits of Enjoying Meals with Others

Family meals used to be a much more common occurrence, but with the advent of technology, it’s becoming much more normalized to have isolated meals or eat in front of a screen. While this isn’t really good for any of us, it can be especially harmful for seniors who are at an increased risk of isolation and loneliness. In this article, we’ll go over some of the top benefits of enjoying meals with others. 

  • Better food choices, believe it or not, are a huge benefit for people eating with others. This is because when people are around others, they tend to make healthier food choices. This could be because they are more conscious of what others might think about their food choices, and they don’t have that when they eat alone. 
  • Lower risk of obesity and other diseases are also linked to eating with others. Those who eat alone may choose less healthy food to combat their feelings of loneliness and depression, and this can increase their risk of developing certain chronic conditions. 
  • Improved sense of community and belonging is a natural benefit of eating with others. Having a meal with friends or family members helps everyone at the table to bond and feel as if they are a part of a group. When electronics are not at the table, people are more focused on each other and will be more engaged in the conversation. 
  • Higher-quality food can be another benefit to eating with others. Seniors who live and eat alone are more likely to settle for quick dinners that may not be full of the best ingredients. 
  • Improved safety is yet another benefit of eating with others because older adults are at a higher risk of choking. Having dentures or missing teeth can increase that risk as they may struggle to chew their food well before swallowing it. Eating with others can ensure there is someone there who can help in the event an older adult starts choking. 

You don’t have to eat every meal with others to reap the benefits of this practice. Even just scheduling one or two meals a week with family or friends can make an impact, especially if everyone is engaged in the meal and conversation, rather than in their electronics. If you struggle to eat with friends or family members due to their busy schedules, or you already eat with family a few times a week but want to incorporate more meals with others, learn more about SCOA’s Senior Center Without Walls congregate meal program here: