We are at a point in our life where all our children are adults and moving out on their own. As they leave my home, one hope is that they appreciated the importance of family meals. Family meals go beyond the food that is prepared and consumed. A great fact sheet from University of Florida Extension used the letters in the word RECIPE to breakdown the importance of effective communication that family meals can provide. Communicating with everyone in the family about healthy eating and the importance of physical activity is a great idea! As attention increases over childhood weight issues and obesity, these discussions gain more significance.
The article breaks down each letter in the word RECIPE. Each letter and an accompanying description follow:
R – Reflective Listening
E – Encouragement
C – Compromise and Cooperation
I – “I”-messages
P – Practice
E – Engagement
The “R” is for Reflective listening, the vital skill of actively listening to those who are speaking. Someone who is actively listening may ask questions, restate what was said, and understand or put themselves in other person’s shoes. To a child’s statement of “I don’t want to eat that” a reflective listener might respond with a statement such as, “Sometimes it is hard to try new things”.
Encouragement, “E”, is appreciating what another has to say. These responses may praise one another and offer supportive. Encouragement helps keep the lines of communication open.
“C” doubly represents Compromise and Cooperation which allow family members to find solutions to conflict and disagreements. When parents role model and encourage, “compromise and cooperation” conversations will likely lead to solutions that can be agreed upon by all.
“I” Messages are a s
pecific way of telling others how one feels. An “I” message communicates to another how his or her behavior causes you to think or feel. An example of an “I” message would be “I feel badly when I cook a big meal and no one is home to eat it” as opposed to a “You” statement such as “I don’t like what you have made for dinner. I’ll make something myself.”
Practice is for “P” the fifth letter in the RECIPE communication acronym. Practice is needed for any new skill to become a habit. Practice requires patience and effort.
The “E” in RECIPE stands for Engagement. This is defined as the level of involvement of each family member in the communication process. This requires giving others your full attention.
Once all the letters of the RECIPE communication technique are blended together effective communication can start to take place. This requires time and patience but can lead to better health and wellness for everyone in the family.
Author: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D. Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.
Reviewed by: Cheryl Barber Spires, RD, LD, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences.
Source: Family Nutrition: A RECIPE for Good Communication. Retrieved from: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy1060.