Last month, I had lovely merienda with the guys of Del Monte Tomato Sauce and they shared an advocacy they’re pushing: #FamilyWednesdates.

You know how a lot of families now don’t get to spend quality time together – even on Sundays? The goal of #FamilyWednesdates is to gather the whole family in the middle of the week so family members can once again congregate and enjoy time with each other over a homecooked meal, ideally using Del Monte Tomato Sauce.

I love this campaign. I think we need to be reminded of how important spending quality time with the family is, considering how everyone seems to be extra busy nowadays.

I am very guilty of this! I am a workaholic and my job usually involves attending events at night. And even when there are no events, there’s just so much stuff to do in the office I end up working overtime. This means grabbing dinner with the officemates or eating out with them, which means not a lot of time for Sadako at home. There are times when I am so tired when I get home that I don’t have a lot of energy for playing with my daughter. Worse, there are times when she’s already asleep by the time I get home.

#FamilyWednesdates is exactly what I need right now.

During the merienda with the guys from Del Monte Tomato Sauce, Dr. Lillian Leynes-Juadiong was invited to share the benefits of meal time with the family.

For starters, homecooked meals are healthier than restaurant grub since you prepare the food yourself and you can control the kinds of ingredients used. Meal time with the whole family also bonds the unit especially when you do fun stuff together like chika-over-chiken-afritada or little games like guess-who-this-baby-is-now. Even tasks like meal preparation or cleaning the table can be fun (well, kinda), or at least teach everyone about responsibility and work delegation, right? Dr. Leynes-Juadiong even shared how learning about new words is better during meal time as opposed to learning about them through books because of the interaction with family members who can help the child understand the word more.

Interestingly, the guys from Del Monte Tomato Sauce also practice #FamilyWednesdates; they are required to clock out at 6 p.m. so they can get home in time for dinner; those who don’t leave the office by 6 o’clock get penalized. For some people, this was hard to accept in the beginning but now it’s something everyone in the office looks forward to. They have even been posting their #FamilyWednesdates pictures on Facebook to check how long they’ve been doing what can now be called a habit.

Well, I can’t wait to be part of #FamilyWednesdates. I’m sure it’s going to be pretty challenging, but I really want it to be a habit at home. After all, spending time with the people who matter to you is always a good thing – especially when there’s mechado (or any yummy dish) involved.

And since we’re on the topic, I just have to say that the Del Monte Red Sinigang looks really, really good, and one of my goals this year is to try and make this one since Sadako is a big fan of soup-based ulam. This version is extra-healthy considering it uses Del Monte Tomato Sauce, which is rich in Lycopene.

To know more about Family Wednesdates and Del Monte Tomato Sauce, visit facebook.com/ComeHometoDelMonteand delmonte.ph/wednesdates