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Hispanic-Family-Enjoying-Dinnerby Angela Aladjem RD, LD

Nothing is going by the wayside more than the family dinner. Between multiple activities for multiple children, and parent’s crazy work schedules, there just doesn’t seem to be time for a family to sit down together for twenty minutes, let alone take the time to cook a healthy meal. Unfortunately, the week can be filled with pizza or fast food in the car in route from place to place. And then once the weekend hits, you have social engagements and more activities. There are some benefits to setting just one to three nights a week aside so that family can sit down together and catch up over a good meal.

  1. The no brainer here is the family gets a chance to reconnect. Communication between parents and children is smoother and there is less instance in behavioral problems in children that have regular family meals. These children are also less likely to experience depression or an eating disorder. In addition, they are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs. It can provide stress relief for everyone, because you are taking a time out and talking with one another.
  2. Your kids may just learn to love their veggies. Kids who ate at home ate more fruits and veggies and less sodas and fries than those on the go. Their diets have higher amounts of calcium, iron and fiber. This is partly because the temptation for such foods is taken out of the equation. You don’t have to say,”No,” to fries if they aren’t on the menu.
  3. You can also expose your kids to new tastes and foods. This a great avenue to introduce new things. You can role model that you are trying them as well. Don’t have success at first? Keep trying. The more kids see the food and see you eating it, they WILL come around. It just takes time.
  4. You control the portions. At a time when obesity is at a high in this country, in both children and adults, we should all be a little more aware of how much is going on the plate. At home, you know what went into the dish, and you can serve it up in a better amount than a restaurant would.
  5. It can save you some money. On average, it costs $8 per meal that is eaten outside the home versus just $4.50 a meal that is cooked in the home. Put money away for summer camp, vacations, and other enrichment activities that can reward the whole family.

Next Month, we will talk about some tips to help make family mealtime and prep easier.

In health, Angela











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