The Importance of Family Meal Time

By Bill Branson (Photographer) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When was the last time you sat down and had a meal with your family? Was it last night, last week or can you even recall when it was? For some families, the act of sitting down and eating together is reserved for a special occasion or perhaps on a Sunday. However, when you sit down and eat a meal with your family, it allows you to connect with each other and strengthens family ties.

Make it a Normal Occasion

Family meal time doesn’t have to be limited to birthdays or holidays. You can plan a family meal on any night of the week, and don’t let the words “I’m too busy” make you rethink it. You aren’t the only person who works 40 hours a week, has one or more children and struggles to find a way to make meals a priority. You may have even talked to your spouse or friends about the situation only to find out they share your thoughts.

You can fit a family meal into your schedule, no matter how busy you are it just requires a bit of planning in advance.

Children who eat dinner with their families are better nourished, have lower rates of obesity and a better vocabulary. These factors can play an important role in a child’s classroom behavior and academic performance. When it comes to improving our children’s health, family meals are a great opportunity to instill healthy eating habits that can last for a lifetime.

Research Regarding Family Meals

Research concerning family meals and their benefits are becoming more common and here are some interesting discoveries that have been made:

1.)Eating together as a family can foster an environment for parents to lead by example with their children. Children who eat with their family consume more fruits and veggies, milk and dairy products as compared to those who do not eat meals with their family.
2.)Adults reported that sitting down for a family meal was a positive portion of their day. Mealtimes create a feeling of closeness and family cohesion.
3.)There is an association between family meal frequency and lower rates of obesity. Meals eaten at home are historically more nutritious, but not necessarily lower in calories. Families who eat meals while watching TV, talking on the phone or reading the mail may actually eat more calories than they realize.

The benefits of sitting down for a family meal go way beyond family closeness and nutrition. Family meals teach children things that will stay with them into adulthood, such as the following:

1.)Memories of taking the time to sit down and eat together, will be a positive memory for your child and you.
2.)Self-esteem: eating meals together helps bring the family together and promotes a positive self-image in children.
3.)Enjoyment: the first place a child learns positive attitudes towards food is in the home. Eating meals together allows a child to develop a positive and lasting relationship with food.
4.)Love: children watch and imitate the adults in their life. A child looks to the parent for guidance and to learn proper behavior, when you eat meals together it is the best time to remind your child every day that they matter and are loved.

,h2>In Conclusion:

With all of the benefits that come from eating meals with your family, isn’t it time to make it a regular habit in your home?


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What does your weekly dinner look like?
The whole family dines together at home
The whole family dines together at a restaurant
Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
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