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Why Family Meal Times Make Life Better

Why Family Meal Times Make Life Better

In today’s busy world of go, go, go, older family traditions like gathering together at the table for meals have become lost in the shuffle for many families. But family mealtime isn’t just another lost tradition from the past–it’s a vital part of family life that can actually improve everyone in your family’s quality of life. 

How Family Mealtime Improves Your Family’s Health and Quality of Life

Numerous research projects have shown that families who share meals together regularly, no matter if it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, or all three, reap many benefits including health. Family meals are more nutritious and help lower the risk of obesity. A Harvard study revealed that families who eat together are more likely to eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables. Family members who eat together also tend to eat less, eat more slowly, and talk more at the dinner table. 

Children who eat their meals with family tend to eat a wider variety of foods and are less picky eaters. But in addition to healthy eating habits, children and teens also get something invaluable at family mealtime. They are given the opportunity to bond, strengthen relationships, and grow closer with their parents and other family members. Parents also have the opportunity to set good examples of healthy eating and table manners. Families who are more closely bonded tend to weather storms better than others, and kids and teens who attend family dinners tend to be less likely to later engage in risky behaviors like substance or alcohol use. 

How You Can Incorporate Family Mealtime Into Your Busy Schedules

Like with any new habit, the best way to start making mealtimes a family priority is to start slow and steady. Start by increasing your number of family meals by one extra a week. That means even if you have only one meal with each other it’s still a start to something more. Don’t focus so much on planning elaborate meals, either. Instead, make the time spent together a priority. 

To encourage your family to participate in family mealtime, get them involved in the meal planning and preparation process. Helping to prepare meals also encourages children to eat what they have prepared with you. Plus, getting input on meal ideas from other family members takes the pressure off of the family’s main cook to brainstorm and plan every meal. 

Learn to be flexible with your mealtimes. Six sharp doesn’t always work for everyone for dinner time, and it’s important to remember that the time together is far more important than the actual time of day you sit down together. Even if you’re sitting down for a quick meal of sandwiches and chips before or after a ballgame or practice, that short time together is vital. 

Need some easy weeknight meals you can fix in 30 minutes or less? Check out these 35 deliciously healthy family dinner recipes from A Sweet Peachef. 

Want to know more about incorporating healthy eating habits and family meals into your family’s routine? Schedule a visit with our resident dietitian to develop a personalized healthy eating plan that’s right for your family.

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