Make Family Meals a Priority
At one time, family meals were a priority. Parents expected every member of the family to be at the dinner table on time. Those days no longer exist. Each family member has activities after work and school. Finding time to sit down and have a meal together remains a challenge. However, families need to bring this tradition back. Why should every person make eating dinner together with loved ones a priority?
Healthy Food Choices
Children who sit down to a meal with their parents make healthier food choices. They consume more fruits and vegetables and take in higher amounts of important nutrients. These nutrients include iron, fiber, and calcium. Furthermore, children often try new foods during a family dinner. Parents should offer their children new foods. Once they try this new food, parents should allow them to eat as much of it as they want in the following days—children given this opportunity rate the food highly upon completion of this period.
When a child eats a meal alone, they often consume more food than they need. They don’t know when to stop and need their parents to share this information with them. Parents often dish out the food, so the child learns how much is normal and how much is too much. Experts believe a lack of portion control today may contribute to America’s obesity problem, and researchers continue to investigate this link. When parents control their portions, children learn to do the same. They model the behaviors seen during the family meal.
Improved Family Relationships
Young children gain a sense of security during family meals. They feel as if they belong. However, they aren’t the only ones benefiting from loved ones eating dinner together. Teenagers like to sit down for a meal with their parents and siblings. In fact, a study conducted by Columbia University found that teenagers say the time spent with the family is the best part of eating together.
Researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study on stress and family meals. They worked with IBM employees to learn how eating dinner with their families affected their stress levels. Working moms who sat down to dinner with their family each night reduced the stress and tension that built up when they spent long hours at work. In addition, women say they are happier than mothers who don’t eat with their families regularly.
Eating at home with the family saves money. With the rising cost of food today, families must find ways to cut back on expenses. Making meals at home helps to keep these costs down. In addition, if family members work together to make meals, they get more time together to connect and catch up with each other.
Make eating dinner as a family a priority in your household. With many benefits and no drawbacks, this is something every family should do nightly. When that isn’t possible for any reason, schedule family dinners multiple times a week. This is one tradition every family member will love and want to continue indefinitely.