Family Mealtime

For many households, family mealtime has become overlooked due to busy schedules. It is often difficult to plan a time for everyone to sit at the table when they have so much going on. However, every meal a family eats together is important and should be considered as part of a family's daily routine.

Why are family mealtimes so important? Researchers have found that families who share meals together on a regular basis obtain the following benefits.

  • Children who eat regularly with their families tend to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Children tend to eat the foods they help prepare.
  • Meals are more likely to be nutritious.
  • Parents' food choices and attitudes about foods at mealtime affect their children's behaviors towards food.
  • Children learn cooking skills and appreciation for different kinds of foods.
  • Eating together gives time for family members to reconnect, especially as kids get older and schedules get busier.
  • It provides opportunities for parents or guardians to model good behavior and table manners.
  • Family mealtime builds memories and traditions that last a lifetime.

Sometimes there are challenges to having mealtime together. Here are some helpful ideas to increase the time one can have with their family.

  • Plan for it. Use a family calendar to plan around after-school activities, work schedules and meetings.
  • Plan mealtime when everyone can be together, so no one is left out. Be flexible and considerate. It can be breakfast, snack time, or weekend meals when schedules aren't so busy.
  • Meals can provide chances to be creative. If ball practice runs late and it is too late for dinner at home, pack a picnic or tailgate meal.
  • Keep it simple. There is no need to make a Sunday dinner every night. It can be quick and easy so a family can make the most of their time together.
  • Share the responsibilities of shopping, cooking, serving, and cleaning up. Even small children can help with the tasks of family mealtime.

Not only are family meals important, but it is also a time to communicate and introduce healthy eating habits. Good eating habits are developed in early childhood. The goal is to teach these habits to children at a young age, so that those habits will influence their decisions later in life.

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8/13/2021 2:07:45 PM
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