Life is crazy busy and hectic and sometimes the last thing there is time for is the family dinner but the reality is there are lots of reasons to eat family dinner together.
1. FAMILY DINNERS CREATE STRONGER FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
Eating meals together can improve family relationships just for the mere fact that you are spending time together. Little kids love routine and that means having a consistent family dinner can provide a sense of security and a feeling of belonging for them. Eating family dinner together is good for older children too. In a recent Columbia University study, 71% of teenagers said they consider talking, catching-up, and spending time with family members as the best part of family dinners.
2. FAMILY DINNERS EQUAL GREATER HAPPINESS
Research examining 5,000 teenagers has shown that when children eat with their parents regularly, they are more likely to be emotionally strong and have better mental health. Teens who ate regular family meals were also more likely to be adjusted, have good manners and communication skills. This effect is not restricted to the children – mothers who ate with their families often were also found to be happier and less stressed as compared to mothers who did not.
3. FAMILY DINNERS RELIEVE STRESS
If you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed. In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM employees and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office.
4. EATING AS A FAMILY LEADS TO BETTER GRADES
This may sound crazy but it’s true! There’s a significant link between family dinners and academic performance. Check this out… A report by CASA found that teens who have between five and seven family dinners each week were twice as likely to report receiving mostly A’s and B’s in school, compared to those teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week. And according to the report, only 9% of teens who ate frequently with their families did poorly in school.
5. FAMILY MEALS LEAD TO HEALTHIER FOOD CHOICES
When you are eating family dinner together you’re helping model good food choices to your kids and you open the dialogue about healthy food choices. A 2000 survey found that the nine to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently consumed more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber.
6. HOMEMADE MEALS PROMOTE PORTION CONTROL
In addition to healthy food choices, eating family dinner together can lead to portion control for your children. Think about it. The average restaurant meal has as much as 60% more calories than a homemade meal. Combine that with the fact that portions served in restaurants are continuing to expand.
7. FAMILY DINNERS EQUAL HEALTHY KIDS
When families eat together, young children are less likely to be overweight or obese. That’s because these children eat regular, nutritious, home-cooked meals. Sometimes the kids help in making these meals which means they can better serve themselves and understand their food.