How often do you enjoy family meals at your home? With long commutes and kids’ activities, it’s easy to see why eating together can take a back seat.
So why are family meals important? The benefits go beyond health.
- Family bonding — Family meals foster a sense of security and comfort in children. Research also shows that kids, especially teen-agers, are less likely to get into trouble and experiment with drugs if they eat regularly with their family.
- Communication — Mealtimes are great to catch up about everyone’s day and nurture kids’ language skills.
- Healthier eating habits — Children and teens eat more balanced meals when they eat with their family. As role models, what parents eat has a big influence on what their kids eat. Even if your kids aren’t happily chomping away on vegetables, as long as they see you eat your veggies, that’s a step in the right direction.
- Time for learning — Sharing meals helps children understand family and cultural traditions about food. As well, they learn team-work and valuable life skills if they help with getting the meal on the table. Easy things for kids to do: set the table, and wash/spin/tear salad.
- Better grades — Research shows that children who eat regular family meals do better academically. Kids who go to school hungry, for example, can’t learn as well.
Source: Adapted from EatRight Ontario