Why are family meals so important? In today’s busy world it is hard to make time to plan and eat with our family. However, eating with your family can improve your family’s health in many ways:
- Eat together. Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Let your child see you enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at meals and snacks. Families eat more fruits and vegetables that sit and eat together.
- Children do better academically in school.
- Children drink more milk and get more dairy products.
- Fewer fatty foods are consumed by the family at mealtimes
- Risky behaviors such as smoking. drinking and using drugs in children is less likely to be found in families who eat together.
- Eating together you develop better communication with your children that will strengthen your relationship for a lifetime!
Strong Families that eat together have many opportunities to pass on many traditions to their children. Research shows that mealtime can be very powerful learning experiences for families that need to be planned, valued and make it happen 4 to 5 times a week or more. Start today!
- Aim for 4 or more meals a week.
- Make family meals a priority.
- Work toward happy, relaxing conversations at meals.
Take time for family meals to focus on the meal and each other. Turn off the television. Take phone calls or texts later! It’s worth it and the whole family eats better. Make mealtimes a Family Time this week!
Author: Marie Economos, Family and Consumer Science Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension.