In addition to grades and language skills, numerous other benefits of eating dinner together are essential for kids. According to the Archives of Family Medicine, when families eat together, they eat healthier. Since home-cooked meals are generally more nutritious than their fast food and restaurant counterparts, your kids will get more calcium, fiber, iron and other vitamins when they sit down to the dinner table.
Kids who eat dinner together with their family consume more fruits and veggies, too. When children eat on their own, they tend to fill up on chicken nuggets, pizza and snack foods. And because it's easier to nosh on unhealthy snacks while watching TV, you should make sure the television is off and your family actually sits down at the table. Children in families who sit down to dinner together are also less likely to be overweight, according to the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Columbia University research and other various studies indicates that teenagers are less likely to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and use drugs when their families eat together regularly as well.
Of course, dinnertime also encourages communication and bonding with parents, and though it can be impossible to eat dinner together every night of the week because of extra-curricular activities and other commitments, you should aim to sit down as a family and eat dinner together at least four times per week.
Check out these nutritious family dinners that your whole family will love.
Spicy Yogurt Chicken
All kids love drumsticks. With this easy recipe, yogurt keeps the chicken moist and the hot sauce adds a little kick. Serve this chicken with brown rice and mixed vegetables to make a delicious meal that your whole family will enjoy.
Get the spicy yogurt chicken recipe >>
Three-Bean Vegetable Chili
From Good Housekeeping, this freeze-now, serve-later chili has plenty of delicious, nutritious goodness with edamame and reduced-fat cheese. You can serve this chili with a crusty bread and side salad for a yummy, complete family meal.
Get the three bean vegetable chili recipe >>
Healthy & Easy Pasta Primavera
Pasta dishes don't have to be heavy. This vegetarian pasta primavera casserole is healthy and quick. You'll have dinner on the table for your family in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for nights when you don't have a lot of time.
Get the healthy & easy pasta primavera recipe >>
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