Memorable family times often revolve around food. Mealtimes connect aging adults and their families in a special way, whether it’s a romantic dinner for two, a favorite family recipe, a TV night staple or a delectable dessert. An added bonus of these family meals could be the nutrition that seniors may be lacking, especially if they’re living alone. Family meals give aging adults a reason to eat well. Think about creating a fun mood with conversation starters, set the scene with fun facts and get the entire family involved in the family dinner experience.
Family Favorite: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Family traditions often revolve around favorite recipes passed down through the generations. What’s yours? Build on those recipes to create a companionship diet dinner experience.
Connect Over a Family Favorite
Favorite meal: Every family has that famous go-to recipe that just makes life better. Perhaps it’s Grandma’s meatloaf and pot roast, or Mom’s chicken Alfredo. Some recipes have been passed down through the generations, making family mealtimes even more special.
Conversation starters: What’s your favorite family dinner? Your favorite recipe? What makes this dish so popular? What family traditions surround this recipe or meal?
Fun facts: The single food that most Americans would want to eat for the rest of their lives is pizza, which 21 percent of survey participants chose as their answer. It beat out steak (16 percent), tacos (11 percent), pasta (11 percent), and even the undeniably American hamburger (13 percent), according to a Harris poll of 2,000 Americans.
Take action: Collect your family’s favorite recipes into a simple book (online or print) that can be shared among the generations. Assign someone to make (or bring) a favorite recipe for the next family dinner.
Best family favorite recipe: Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots
Romance Recipe: Flounder with Tomatoes and Olives
Dinner for two anyone? Romance adds the spice to a healthy companionship diet for aging adults. It’s not difficult to plan a romantic dinner complete with a favorite recipe.
Enjoy a Romantic Dinner for Two
Favorite romantic dinner: Many couples have a favorite romantic meal they enjoy with their significant other. Perhaps during the COVID-19 pandemic you’ve learned to re-create that dish at home. Either way, certain recipes may generate that feeling of romance connected to a special time in the lives of you and someone you love.
Conversation starters: Share with children and grandchildren your first special date night. What was the dish or meal, and where were you? If you’re widowed, think about that special meal and share with family or friends what made the evening so memorable. What did you do after dinner?
Fun facts: Check out these 17 Interesting Facts about Dating including: Couples usually wait until six to eight dates before they are willing to enter into an exclusive relationship.
Take action: Stuck at home? Check out these 50 Fun Stay at Home Date Night Ideas.
Favorite date night recipe: Flounder with Tomatoes and Olives
TV Night Meal: Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork
The best family mealtimes often revolve around a favorite movie or TV show. Build on memories of a beloved show or series, or create new ones as part of your companionship diet experience.
Experience a TV or Movie Night Meal
Favorite movie or show: Regardless of your generation, perhaps your family has a favorite television show or movie they like to watch after family mealtime gatherings. If you were a parent or child of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Sunday dinner entertainment may have included gathering around the television to watch “Bonanza” or “Wonderful World of Disney.”
Conversation starters: What were your favorite TV shows and movies? (Ask all generations.) What did you like most about these shows? How have TV shows and movies changed?
Fun facts: Lasting 14 seasons (1959-1973), “Bonanza” was among the longest-running Western television series (second behind “Gunsmoke” 1955-1975) and continues to air in syndication. While the show originally aired on Saturday night, it later became a Sunday night favorite, entertaining millions of baby boomers.
Take action: Poll your Sunday dinner group and decide what show or movie you’d like to watch after the next family dinner. How about a throwback? Show the grandkids (or great-grandchildren) the programs you watched back in the day by checking out some classics on Netflix, Amazon Prime or other television/movie services.
Best TV night recipe: Slow Cooker Spicy Pulled Pork
Dessert Recipe: Nutella Stuffed Strawberries
Call it the grand finale of a companionship diet: dessert! It can top off any family meal in a big way.
Savor a Delectable Dessert
Best dessert: Whether it’s a fruit dish or double chocolate cheesecake, many family dinners wouldn’t be complete without something sweet. Remember, dessert doesn’t have to be unhealthy.
Conversation starters: Ask everyone around the table to name their dessert preference and tell you why. Just talking about it won’t add any calories, right?
Fun facts: If you lined up the number of pies sold at U.S. grocery stores in one year, they would circle the globe and then some, according to the U.S. Pie Council!
Take action: Ask someone in the family to volunteer to make (or buy) one of the family favorite desserts and bring it to the next meal.
Favorite dessert: Nutella Stuffed Strawberries (Taste of Home)