LIVING WELL, eating well, moving well, thinking well
Today’s family lives are hectic, and in many families both parents work, often out of necessity. After work, shopping needs to be done, clothes need to be washed, dinner needs to be prepared and children need help with homework and bedtime rituals. There’s precious little time for leisure activities and quality family time.
To bolster the amount of family time spent with their spouses and children, many families are re-committing themselves to the “family dinner.” Instead of eating on the run as they walk through the door or haphazardly throwing some fast food on the table for all to grab, many families are returning to the dinner table. And for good reason – the benefits of doing so are proving to be significant.
Consider the following:
- Family meals promote healthier eating habits; more fruits, vegetables and nutritionally sound food choices mean less fast food and fewer sugary carbonated beverages.
- Children who eat regular family meals are happier and more likely to be better students.
- Studies show that adolescents who eat with their families are less likely to smoke, drink alcohol, engage in sex, take drugs or think about suicide.
- Children in families who engage in regular mealtimes have better table manners and social skills – hopefully, they’re taught the right fork to use!
- Teens who eat with their families have fewer incidences of eating disorders.
- Family meals provide a forum for open communication and sharing about the day’s events, school, friends, concerns, etc.
- Family meals provide children with some stability in an ever-changing world. They give children the structure and routine they desperately need.
The bottom line is this – it really doesn’t matter if you are cooking a three-course dinner or ordering pizza. Family meal times allow all family members to come together and catch up on a regular basis, to stay in touch with one another. Try to make them a priority in your home; you’ll notice the difference.