Why Family Meals Matter

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family dinner

If you really want your kids to excel in school and grow up healthy, you’ll sit at the table together at least three times a week. You can do it with these simple tips. Once you realize the benefits to your kids, you’ll be even more adamant about this together time.

Plan and Prioritize

First, decide that you value eating meals together and make it a family priority. A good way to get into the habit is discussing which three meals you’ll all eat together for the following week every Sunday. Get input from everyone on what to eat or serve. Include foods you know your kids like, but be adventurous with new foods, too. You can even create fun theme nights – or how about leftovers night? It’s a great way to teach your family how to enjoy leftovers and cut down on food waste. Get everyone involved in shopping, meal prep and cleanup.

SEE MORE: All of Our Favorite Family Friendly Dinners

Three Benefits for Your Kids

Scientific research shows three main benefits to your child’s growth and development:

  1. Healthier Eating Habits: Every meal your family eats together is an opportunity for your kids to learn from you about the importance of regular meals and balanced choices. You can teach them how to have a positive and loving relationship with food, rather than a negative and fear-filled one. Some specific benefits include healthier eating patterns overall, higher consumption of fruits and vegetables, and higher intake of nutrients needed for proper growth.
  2. Better Behavior and Development: Frequent family meals provide connection and foster emotional balance with your children. Three family meals every week is all it takes, but the benefits increase even more with each additional family meal. Some specific benefits include higher grades and better academic performance, higher self-esteem and greater resilience, greater sense of security and connection within the family, and closer relationship to parents and siblings.
  3. Conversation Skills: In spite of all the technology today, your kids still need to learn how to actually carry on a conversation – something meaningful and longer than one sentence. Sitting at the dinner table together gives them this opportunity. Some specific verbal and conversation benefits include enhanced language development and being more likely to have an expanded vocabulary.

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