Have you sat down to dinner with your family lately? A favorite quote of mine comes from Lori Borgman, author of All Stressed Up and No Place to Go. She says, “Dinner is where you put together the puzzle of the world and sometimes the puzzle of yourself. In the midst of all the shuttling and driving and keeping crazy schedules, isn’t it ironic that the real key to success is as close as the kitchen table.”
Mealtime is a way to connect and share within a family. It provides an opportunity for family togetherness. Research shows that family members gathered around the table, engaged in conversation, and enjoying a healthy meal, provide the following benefits to children and teens:
- A feeling of unity and sense of identity
- Safety and security
- Adult role models
- Memories for a lifetime
These benefits lead to less behavior issues. Depression, drug and alcohol use, weight concerns, eating disorders, and teen pregnancies are all less likely to occur. In turn, family mealtime boosts school success. Children and teens who participate in regular family mealtime at home do well in school and score well on achievement tests. To top it all off, they develop better nutrition habits! Developing healthy eating habits at the dinner table helps children and teens make healthier choices even when their parents aren’t around.
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of family mealtime is that those children who grow up participating in regular family mealtime are more likely to show positive behaviors like sharing, fairness, and respect as they grow into adulthood. These kind of behaviors are important for society as a whole. As illustrated below, when the number of family meals each week rises, so do the positive benefits.
My friend Kerry over at Snappily Ever After puts it best when she says, “Having dinner together as a family…can be the single biggest act that you can do to have a positive impact on your children. It will change every aspect of their lives for the positive”. So what are you waiting for? Commit today to have at least one family mealtime this week. I’ll make it easy and even tell you what to cook! Try homemade Sloppy Joes.
This recipe comes from our Family Mealtime Cookbook. Click here for your free download!
Check back all month long for tips, tricks, and recipes perfect for family mealtime. Be sure to check out Eat Well Utah on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for even more tips and tricks. Enjoy!
Certified Nutrition Education Assistant