City Social Magazine

MAY-JUN 2016

City Social Magazine in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

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Page 29 of 59

30 Stirring it up Story and photos by Teresa Day The Importance of Dining With Friends and Preserving Relationships r e a d u s o n l i n e a t w w w . c i t y s o c i a l . c o m When was the last time you had lunch with friends or had a few girlfriends over for dinner or lunch at home? For me, this happens too little. I get caught up in work and don't get around to going out, or the kids' schedules are too busy to have friends over. Before I know it, the week has gone by, and I haven't seen one friend outside of work. Life can be crazy, which means meals scarfed down alone are the norm for many. For our own health, though, we need to nurture our bodies and our friendships over a meal. Studies show that sharing a meal with others regularly can lead to a healthier and happier life. If it's that simple, we've got to get back into it! Most women, by nature, are social creatures. We like to nurture and be nurtured for our own mental and physical health. Sharing a healthy meal together is one way to do that. Spending time connecting socially, whether chatting over happy hour specials or sharing a table with friends at a restaurant or at home regularly has been shown to increase happiness and lower the risk of depression. The simple act of gathering around the table helps establish connections, which studies have found are important in staying happy and feeling a sense of belonging. Because we live in a 24/7 environment today, we often find that we've put productivity over pleasure for too many days. Sharing a meal with your friends is a great excuse to slow down, stop, sit still and simply catch up. Sitting, talking and eating together at a table may be one of the few times we put aside work or household business and take time out of the day. Eating together is a small act, and it requires very little of us, sometimes less than an hour of time. While eating together itself leads to a more healthy diet and lifestyle, eating together at home can be even healthier. Usually, the meals we wind up ordering at restaurants are much less healthy than what we would prepare at home. Below are a few steps to get you started in setting up a nutritionally and mentally healthy meal with friends. Set a date. Pick a time that works with most of your friends. Don't make any friends feel pressured or guilty if they can't make it, but don't give up on them, either. Eventually, there will be a date and time that works for them. Make a reservation. If you're going out, make a reservation. Most people will feel more compelled to come knowing there's a spot being saved for them. Plan a potluck. To save on everyone's schedule and make it easy to take part in the meal, have everyone bring a little something to someone's house. Let your friends know they are welcome to stay as long as they like without having to wait on a server to bring the check. Serve and share healthy recipes. If everyone is coming to your place, have some healthy recipes on the table, like the ones included here. All of them have healthy ingredients, specifically some vitamin-rich and high in antioxidants, things nearly every woman needs. Don't let another week or month go by where you haven't seen your best friends. Make a plan today to gather some people together around food, sit down together, talk, eat and enjoy each other's company! Beet Salad • 3 beets • 1 tablespoon orange juice • 3 tablespoons avocado oil • 1 tablespoon honey • 1 tablespoon Steen's cane vinegar • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 1/4 black pepper • 2 cups mixed greens • 1/4 cup toasted pecans • 1/4 cup bleu cheese, crumbled Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Wash the beets, pat them dry and wrap in a foil pouch. Bake beets in foil for 1 hour. Once cooled, peel the beets and slice into 1/4-inch slices, then cut the slices in half.

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