By: Heather Dyson
We've all heard the saying, “a family that plays together, stays together,” but it also true that a family that eats together, stays healthy together! Studies show that kids who regularly sit down to meals with their parent(s) even as few as 3 times a week have better eating habits, do better in school and develop healthier social skills than kids who rarely have a family meal. Kids who eat with their family tend to eat a wider variety of food, mostly because they see others at the table eating different foods, including those pesky vegetables. The benefits of eating with our kids reach far beyond food, though. Sitting down to a meal encourages conversation, a rare opportunity for parents to hear what is going on in their children’s world. Frequent family meals are also associated with lower rates of smoking, alcohol and drug use among middle and high school aged kids. All from something as simple as sharing a meal!
pizza sauces! At the ball field 4 nights a week? Pack sandwiches, raw veggies, fruit, baked chips and bottled water to eat as a picnic after practice.
Getting into the habit of eating family meals while your children are young will make the transition easier as they get older. Just be sure to keep it a priority and remember you don’t have to be perfect and sit down to a fancy meal every night. Kids will cherish and benefit from simply sharing any meal with the most important people in their lives!
About the Author: Heather Dyson is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian who currently focuses on counseling patients with a variety of health situations, and in ages ranging from infancy to elderly. Click here to learn more about Heather.