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Why Meal Time is Sacred in My House

by SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR

Sarah Michelle Gellar is an actress, producer, and entrepreneur. Best known for her role as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” Gellar is probably most proud of the role she gets to play as mom to Charlotte, 9, and Rocky, 6. She recently shared with us why mealtime is sacred in her house and why putting down our phones is the start to family connection.

In my house, mealtime is sacred. There are no phones or TV, and we take every advantage of our time together. Not only do I take great care into making time, but I also take great care into making sure my family is eating healthy and nutritious food.

There is science and data behind the importance of food and ingredients. It was discovered in a recent study involving Rhodes Scholars that the common thread among them was not gender nor socio-economic nor religious, it was the consistency of family dinners three or more nights a week. I’ve seen firsthand the incredible results of children that have access to healthier food options—everything from better grades to less disciplinary infractions to fewer cases of depression. It makes all the difference. That’s why I’m so committed to bringing people together through healthy food that’s also fun to make.

But it’s not always easy. As any busy working mom will tell you, it can be difficult to find time to connect with our kids; time where we can put down our devices and truly connect—and not just around the dinner table.

I worry that in this over-connected world, we are only becoming more and more disconnected. When I really thought about this, I kept coming back to the kitchen as the place where memories are created. And that’s how the idea for Foodstirs came about.

Since my kids, like so many others, love to bake, my Foodstirs partners, Greg and Galit, decided to start there. So when we went to the store to do research, we were shocked at the lack of available options. On one hand, we found the old legacy brands filled with chemicals, dyes, and ingredients I had no clue how to pronounce. On the other hand, there were options that had much better ingredients but the taste suffered as a result, and I knew my kids would not want to eat something that I didn’t enjoy. Where was the option with better-for-you ingredients in which taste was not sacrificed? Since it didn’t exist, we went about creating it ourselves.

I have always been label-conscious. And to me, being aware encompasses not just the ingredients, but where they come from and how they are procured. For example, to find the best chocolate, we didn’t rely only on taste and word of mouth. We got on a plane and flew to Peru to meet the supplier and tour their factories and meet their farmers. We don’t just see this as a transactional relationship, but as a way to learn more about the way we are eating and what goes into making our food. The more we are able to understand every step of the process, the better we can appreciate what and how we eat, which then translates to our children.

I’ve found that baking is such a great experience for kids. It allows them to see the results of their hard work right before their very eyes. And for me and my kids, we experience learning as well as some great bonding when we bake. We solve math problems (from the simple pour two cups on to the more complex converting of measurements), we improve hand-eye coordination, we discuss the science behind combinations of ingredients, and even enrich our vocabulary and our knowledge of the world. And the truly best part is the “sweet” reward at the end when we devour the yummy treats.

It’s easy to get stressed around the holidays, but I’ve found that these moments with my kids make it all worthwhile This holiday season, I hope you’re all taking the time to step back, put your phones down, and reconnect with your loved ones. We can’t get this time back, so it’s up to each and every one of us to make the most of it, especially when we can enjoy it with a great meal.

SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR

Sarah Michelle Gellar is an actress, producer, and entrepreneur best known for her role as “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

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