Growing up, in my house, dinner time was always family time. We would sit around the table, talk, laugh, argue and (most importantly) eat my mom’s delicious food. Now that we’re all grown up, we don’t eat dinner with each other every night. However, we do make it a point to meet up at least once a week and break bread. It’s an important family tradition, one I know that I will pass on to my future kids.
But it got me thinking, are family meals simply a nice tradition, or are there important reasons to insist upon sitting around the family table?
Even though today’s reality consists of different jobs, school hours, after-school clubs, sports teams and hobbies for everyone in the family, it is very important to make family meals a priority.
For starters, studies have shown that kids who eat with their family often, are more likely to eat more veggies and less junk food. Mom’s salad beats a big mac any day of the week! In addition, children are much more open to trying new foods and tastes at home, rather than at school or on the go.
As for the quantity and quality of the food, you are in complete control of what your kids eat. Eating out, or ordering in, is accompanied by a hint of mystery. What exactly are they cooking with? Is it healthy? Is the portion too much? Avoid these question and many more by simply enjoying a home-cooked family dinner.
Another important benefit of quality family time around the dinner table is the emphasis of right and wrong, good and bad. Studies show that children who grow up eating five meals a week with their families are much less likely to try smoking, using drugs or under-age drinking. The strong positive effect that family meals have on children expand to the classroom as well. Kids who eat often around the family dinner table are more likely to succeed in school and get better grades than kids who don’t eat often with their families.
And last but not least, family dinners are cost-effective. Eating out may be more convenient than making a mess at home, but it also takes a toll on your wallet. Home-cooked family meals are not only extremely beneficial for the kids, but they also leave parents with a grin on their face, since I’m sure that they’re happy about saving some money along the way.
So, lose the Chinese menu and forget about pizza, mom is cooking tonight and the whole family will be there!