Four reasons you shouldn't skip the family dinner
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Do you have a family ritual? What about your family dinner time? The tradition in itself has so many benefits to you, your children and your entire family’s homeostasis. Here are four reasons why you should keep the daily date with your dining table. Don’t forget to scroll down and check out an infographic to plan a quick (and healthy) meal.
1. Quality time – Plain and simple, spending thirty minutes at the dinner table with your family is possibly the only uninterrupted time you spend with them in a 24 hour span. Use this time to learn about each other and what happened in their day. This should be a stress reliever too!
Communications skills and manners – Meal time is an ideal place to practice proper manners. Enforce “thank you” and “please” at the dinner table. Children pick up on more than parents realize. The chitchat you have with your spouse may help mold the idea of how adult conversations should be for your child. Prompt your family with a nightly topic to get the chatter started. Some families enjoy sharing “the peak and the pit” of their day while others may want to ask stimulating questions. Here are a few to get you started:
- If you had one super power, what would you choose?
- Who is your favorite storybook character?
- What three words would you use to describe yourself? Find more questions like this here.
2. It’s healthier –A 2014 study revealed that people who ate at a restaurant consumed 200 more calories per day than the people who ate at their home. If repeated on a daily basis, this can be a big problem for the waistline and uptick the risk of diseases. At home, you can limit your portions and be mindful of what you have added to your food, such as salt.
In another study, researchers examined 182,836 children and adolescents to learn about their eating patterns in correlation to family meals. The conclusion: kids “who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. In addition, they are less likely to engage in disordered eating.” View the study here.
3. Learn about new, healthy foods – with more exposure, children will like new foods more. Kids may not always know how to make the healthy choice. To make it easier for them, describe the particular food’s benefits. Instead of saying, “Broccoli is so healthy!” tell your child, “Broccoli will help you grow stronger and taller!”