Family Meals are a Must!

What We Believe

  • Family meals promote healthy eating habits.
  • Family meals provide an opportunity for parents to share their values to their children.
  • Family meals provide an opportunity to socialize and to develop communication skills.

The Reality?

  • Families don’t sit down to eat together anymore.
  • Parents’ schedules and children’s extracurricular activities are a deterrent to getting the family to eat together.
  • Meal times are quick, no time to connect.
  • Technology distracts family meal times.

Facts on Family Meals and Nutrition

  • Studies show that families who eat together consume more:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Fiber
    • Vitamin B6, B12, C and E
    • Calcium and Iron
  • Family meals give parents an opportunity to teach good nutrition and model healthy eating patterns.

What The Evidence Suggests

  • Studies show that children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week:
    • Have healthier weights
    • Have healthier eating patterns
    • Are socially, emotionally and physically healthier
  • Children, especially teenagers who eat meals with their families at least five times a week are:
    • Nearly twice less likely to use alcohol
    • Four times less likely to use tobacco
    • Two and a half less likely to use marijuana

Benefits of Family Meals



Barriers to Family Meals


Communication
  • Family meals provide opportunities to communicate and build relationships.
  • Both parents and children have expressed liking the time together.
Language skills
  • Children can share their thoughts and enhance their linguistic development.
  • Preschoolers from families who consistently had family meals had better language skills than children who did not consistently partake in family meals.
Academic Performance
  • Students who consistently ate dinner with their families scored better on tests that those students who ate family dinners 3 or fewer times a week.
  • Positive association between family meals and student achievement test scores.

 

  • Schedules
    • Parents’ work schedules
    • Children’s extracurricular activities
    • Boyfriend, girlfriend, social activities
    • Family community activities
  • Conflicting schedules of various family members is the one issue that most interferes with establishing family meals.
  • Little or no cooking skills
  • No time to cook
  • Television shows compete for attention

 

 

 

 

 

Click here on Tips to Make Dinner Night Happen
Click here to Join Family Dinner Club
Click here to Start a Familly Dinner Night at your School
Click here for Family Recipes

 

Article written by: Julia Salomón MS, RDN, CD, corporate dietitian, Affinity Health System.

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