Many families now eat dinner separately in front of the telly or grab something on the go before heading out to football practice, ballet dancing or a parent evening. Life is very busy but time should still be made for family dinners as there are so many benefits to eating together. Here are the five reasons getting together at the end of the day to eat is extremely important.
It encourages kids to eat well
Studies show that your child is more likely to eat healthy foods if he eats his meals with the family around the table. Kids who enjoy regular family meals were shown to eat far more fruit and veg than kids who didn’t actually enjoy eating these foods. If your child is sat next to you when they are eating, you can keep a better track of their diet and if they dislike a certain food, you can encourage them to give it a try.
You control portion size
Childhood obesity is a real problem now in the Western world and scientists think that one of the reasons could be because parents don’t keep a check on children’s meals like they used to. If your child is sorting his own tea out and helping himself he could overload his plate with food, healthy or unhealthy, and end up over-eating. By having family meals you can make sure they are taking in the right amount of calories and the right foods.
Helps families bond
Families are so busy these days that members hardly get the chance to say hello to each other. By having a family meal each night, everyone can catch up and share what they have been up to that day. It is the perfect way to “check in” with each other, make sure everyone is OK and discuss issues and problems. If there is no family meal, some families, and especially teenagers, can go for days without properly speaking to their parents. A regular meal together can make sure this is avoided.
Can relieve stress
It has been shown that families who partake in family dinners regularly have lower stress level than those that don’t. This could be because when families are all together they can share a joke or a laugh and any problems can be discussed and resolved. Kids who sit alone when eating or in front of a television will not have the chance to talk about their problems and have a light hearted chat to take their mind off stresses and strains.
Helps the family budget
Research has shown that making one meal for all the family is far more cost effective than providing either ready meals for everyone to eat when they are hungry or cooking different meals for different people. Ready meals can be very expensive, as can buying many different ingredients to cater for different people at different times. A family meal such as a casserole will feed everyone and not break the bank.
More on family meal times
Family dining: is it just for Christmas?
Fun picnic ideas for family days out
Family-focused Olympic recipes