With the demands of work, school, and afterschool activities sometimes family mealtimes happen far less often than they used to. Sometimes this results in missed meals or less healthy meals. Studies show that children who eat regularly with their families are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s important for parents to take moment out of their busy schedules to prepare a meal and enjoy it together with their family.
Here are some tips for family meals:
- Set a goal. If you’re busy, start with once or twice a week and build from there.
- Choose a time when everyone can enjoy at least one meal together-it may be breakfast, lunch or dinner.
- Consider planning out family meals for the week and keeping a family activity calendar.
- Include your children in preparing the meal and turn off the TV.
- Keep it simple, family meals don’t have to be elaborate.
- Use the crockpot. Put everything together before leaving for work in the morning.
- Gather around the table.
- Limit eating and drinking unhealthy snacks prior to a meal.
- Make the meal pleasant by saving difficult conversations for another time.
- Help your family learn good manners and mealtime behaviors.
Potential benefits of family meals:
- Less stress and tension at home.
- Better school grades.
- Everyone eating healthier meals.
- Children are less likely to become overweight or obese.
- Parents will be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
- Families will talk more and communicate better.
- Helps keep children away from cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and other dangerous and undesirable things.