Celebrate Family Meals
There are many benefits of eating together as a family. Some family meals are more uplifting than others, however the benefits make the effort worthwhile. Whether your family consists of a spouse, friends or children, sitting down and sharing a meal together does take some planning.
Sharing the Family Meal
Among the most lasting and powerful traditions in family life is one that seems to have more influence than almost any other – the family meal. Recalling your favorite family experiences usually leads to thinking of such times as the weekly Sunday meal, family mealtimes during Thanksgiving or other holidays, or a Saturday morning breakfast with Mom or Dad.
Why are family meals so powerful? Sharing a family meal provides an experience that touches all of our senses – sight, touch, taste, smell and listening to warm laughter or good conversation. Family meals help provide a regular, consistent opportunity to create a shared experience that is meaningful and offers a sense of belonging to all. Research has shown that regular and meaningful family meals offer a large variety of benefits to children and parents.
Source: North Dakota State University
- Sharing Meals Makes a Difference
10 Tips for Balancing Busy Schedules and Healthy Family Meals
Eat Better, Eat Together!
|*||Planning family meals ahead of time is essential; develop systems that make the purchasing, preparing and partaking easier.|
|*||Keep it simple. Family meals don’t have to be elaborate to be healthy and effective. Come up with easy ways to balance your meals with simple vegetable side dishes or fruit and yogurt desserts.|
|*||Have healthy food on hand and eat from your freezer or pantry on busy weeknights. Prepare double batches of food when you’re less rushed so you can cook once, eat twice.|
|*||The family meal does not have to be dinner; breakfast or lunch may work better in some households.|
|*||Toughen up. Prepare one meal for the whole family to enjoy. Include all five food groups and everyone should be able to find something they’ll want to eat.|
|*||Turn off technology and tune into each other. Make conversation the focus of family meals, but keep it light. The dinner table is not the place for discipline.|
|*||Share the work. Enlist help from the family to plan shopping lists, make lunches, set the table, pour the milk and clean up.|
|*||Eating as a family is truly comforting for toddlers, teens and adults. Family meals can become a cherished tradition for the whole family.|
|*||Dump the guilt. Family meals may not happen every day, and that’s OK. Make the most of your family meals when they occur.|
|*||Family meals aren’t always easy, but they’re always worth the effort. Start or strengthen your family’s commitment and take the Eat Better, Eat Together family meal pledge today!|