Regular family meals are good for children and for the family as a whole! Here's why:
1. Eating together encourages family togetherness
- Positive family mealtimes help family members maintain relationships and feel a sense of belonging
- When children can count on regular time with a parent or adults, they feel loved, safe and secure
- Children set roots for a lifetime as they experience their family’s values and traditions
2. Eating together fosters happy, well-adjusted kids
- Kids can feel accepted by their family and may not need to seek approval from the wrong crowd
- Adolescents are less likely to be depressed and generally have a better self- esteem
- Adolescents are less likely to smoke cigarettes, use marijuana, illegal drugs or alcohol
3. Eating together helps kids do better in school
- Listening to grownups at the table exposes children to new works which helps them read better
- Table talk gives youth a safe place to express their ideas. They gain confidence to speak up in class
- Parents are more likely to know about deadlines for homework, upcoming test days, and ways they can be involved with how their children are doing in school
4. Eating together provides better nutrition
- Family meals provide nutrients that kids need to grow strong and healthy, such as calcium, fiber and iron
- Dinners at home are more likely to include nutrient-rich foods from all five food groups: vegetables, fruit, milk, grain and meat & beans. They are less likely to have too much fat and sugar.
- Cooking together teaches children and teens how to plan meals and prepare food - and how to clean up!
5. Eating together helps prevent weight problems
- Children and teens are less likely to be overweight since they learn to eat healthful meals
- Teens make better food choices than when they are eating away from home
- Teens are less likely to have eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia
6. Eating together saves time and money
- Food dollars go father when making larger family “batches” than buying individual or fast food meals
- By cooking extra food for another meal, “planned-overs” can save time in the kitchen and money, too
- Eating a home-cooked meal can be faster than driving to a restaurant, ordering, eating/ and driving home
7. Eating together is enjoyable!
- Kids like eating with their families! Teens may not show it but they say they enjoy family meals
- Parents or other family members savor the good times with their kids at the table
- Laughter at the table makes mealtime fun!