"Come and get it!" It may be dinnertime, but when was the last time your family sat down and enjoyed a meal together? With music lessons, ball practice, play rehearsal, and work schedules, it can be tough. Rounding up the troops for an evening meal can be almost impossible! However, research is beginning to show that eating as a family has great benefits for your children and teenagers. Here are 8 more reasons why you should try to sit down together 5-6 times a week, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Communication and Well-Being. Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. It’s a chance to share information and news of the day, as well as give extra attention to your children and teens. Family meals foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging. It can be a unifying experience for all.
Kids might learn to love their veggies. A 2000 survey found that the 9- to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently ate more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber. Family dinners allow for both "discussions of nutrition [and] provision of healthful foods," says Matthew W. Gillman, MD, the survey’s lead researcher and the director of the Obesity Prevention Program at the Harvard Medical School.
Eating together helps prevent weight problems. Children and teens are less likely to be overweight since they learn to eat healthful meals. Teens make better food choices than when they are eating away from home. Teens are less likely to have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.
Start eating together now. Aside from the health benefits, your family will sure have the strong bond everyone's wishing to have.
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