For as long as we have been a couple, my husband and I always ate dinner together. Even before kids and Taco Tuesdays, I would wait until whatever time he got home from work so that we could break bread. Since he’s a real estate broker, and often shows clients around in the evenings, this meant that, more often than not, I was waiting for him with a hot meal on the stove until 9 or 10pm. When we were younger and kid-less this was mostly ok. As a freelancer, I made my own schedule, so I had plenty to keep myself occupied until he walked in. Plus, dinner was usually the time of day that we really got a chance to spend time together. Whether we were talking or watching TV (and back then we did eat in front of the TV) it felt necessary to the relationship that this was something we did together.
Even after we had our twins, now 11, I would feed them first and then wait for my hubs to come home to eat our grownup dinner. I had read articles about how you should have your kids eat the same food as you and the importance of family meals, but like for many people, this just wasn’t feasible with our schedules. Plus, I enjoyed the act of putting away the colorful interlocking playmats, stashing the toys and enjoying dinner, just the two of us.
But as I started to put more focus on my health and nutrition, I began to realize that waiting to eat so late was wrecking havoc on my diet (and my ability to button my jeans). The longer I waited to eat dinner, the more I found myself turning into Pantry Monster. As the clock ticked on, I scrounged in the fridge for bites of this and tastes of that to tide me over. I’m not proud to say that there were many handfuls of cereal, pilfered chocolate chips and slivers of cheese consumed to “even out” the block I was cutting from as I tried my best to hold out for our dinnertime together.
The idea of not eating together was, at first, unthinkable. I’m sure I’m not alone in equating food with love, and the idea of him eating solo, especially after a long day of work, seemed unloving and cold. Sure, I could offer up some reheated plate, but where was the companionship in that? So, I continued my pre-dinner grazing, which probably added up to the calories of an additional meal.