Sharing Family Meals
Family meals are an integral part of connecting and engaging your children.
Research has found that sharing family meals have significant physical and psychological benefits for children, teenagers and adult family members. It’s important that you build a strong family foundation with family meals.
US-based research shows that kids aged 9-14 years of age who eat meals with their families ate less fried food, drank less soft drink and ate more vegetables and fruit.
Other studies found that teenagers who eat with their families at least five times each week are likely to eat more vegetables, and get better school grades and be much less expected to have substance abuse problems.
It also reduces the incidence of teenagers becoming depressed, having substance abuse issues, thinking about suicide and developing eating disorders. Teens who share family meals tend to wait longer to have sex, and are less likely to smoke, drink or use drugs.
Another upside to eating with family is the promotion of healthier food choices and portion sizes. Although convenient, fast foods have larger portion sizes and calorie counts than home-cooked meals. Family meal times enable parents to expose children to a wider range of foods and educate them about the link between nutrition, food, health and wellbeing.
In addition to benefiting children, sharing family meals enables parents to relax and enjoy the end of the working day. They can also sit down and connect with their children. Give yourself an opportunity to identify when teens or younger kids may have had a rough day or a difficult time at school.
Sharing family meals helps the whole family connect and communicate, as well as providing physical and emotional benefits.
While it can sometimes seem difficult to manage everyone’s busy schedules, making the time to eat together daily is a vital part of maintaining a strong family bond and helping all family members stay healthy.