But breaking bread or sharing a meal is more than just about fighting over the last roast potato - in fact: it's good for your health!
Social Eating has both physical and psychological benefits with studies showing that loneliness increases our chances of following a poor diet and ups our likelihood of having a depleted immune system. Psychologically eating alone can also mean you miss out on the companionship of "breaking bread" - setting aside the stressors of the day to sit around a table with family or friends to talk.
Taking your palette on an adventure
Social eating also allows many of us to be more adventurous with our food choices.. not only because there is an element of shared discovery, but trying new foods can also lead to new favourites. Eating a variety of foods means you're exposed to more flavours, textures and nutrients, which means you now have an excuse to ditch the boring boiled broccoli and try something new!
And then there's the biggest benefit of sharing the eating… The extra hands to share with the washing up!!
This year as you're sitting down to your family meal try these 3 simple things to help you get the most benefit from the social gathering:
1. Try something you've never eaten before.. How about opting for a new vegetable alternative to sprouts or glazed carrots? Try BBCgoodfood.com for some creative ideas
2. Keep moving! Swap seats between each course… not only will this allow you to get another dimension of the conversation, you'll also burn a few calories every time!
3. Offer to help with the washing up.. this will ensure you get invited back and will mean you burn calories while you earn your halo!
And lastly: enjoy just being together with the people you love.. Happy Christmas everyone!
For more on the benefits of Social Eating, read:
Whatever happened to dinner?