My family eats together. Every day. 3 meals a day.
Okay, that might be an exaggeration…most of the time we eat 3 meals a day every day together. I know that 3 meals together everyday is impossible for most families. There are some days that our family just can’t pull it off either. But I’d like to tell you why this is such a high priority for us.
5 Reasons Why Families should eat together:
1. Healthier Wallets
According to the national Consumer Expenditure Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Americans spend nearly twice as much when they eat out than they do when making food at home. That’s no suprise to us, right? Even worse, restaurant and fast food prices are rising all the time. When did Taco Bell get so expensive? That used to be our emergency-on-the-run-cheap-grab-and-go-spot. Besides the menu prices going up, with a growing family the bill is climbing. It is much easier to feed my family frugally at home than on the go!
2. Healthier Meals
Eating as a family gives you more one on one time with your kids. In turn, kids are more likely to learn to eat their veggies, try new foods, and learn about portions control.
“…children whose mothers thought that eating together was important had a lower prevalence of being overweight or obese than those whose mothers did not think it was important.” –Obesity Research (2005)
My family has definitely benefited in all these ways from choosing to stay home most nights to eat together! Don’t let this scare you. You can find tons of posts about meal ideas , kid friendly meals, “Preparing Your Pantry, Fridge and Freezer for Meal Planning” as well as meal plan rotation series to get you started. Take it slow. Don’t get overwhelmed.
3. Healthier Kids
Kids who have stable, reliable, routines are more secure. This also includes being able to count on eating with their family as part of their routine.
“Studies show that the more often families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use.” –TIME Magazine
4. Healthier Parents
Fox news says, “(2008)…researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM workers and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office.”
This also goes for the stressed-out dad. I know personally that my husband makes it a priority to eat with us as a family. He gets up to eat with our children, comes home from work in the middle of the day to eat lunch with us, as well as scheduling meetings and ministry around dinner time or includes us in it. It gives him a break from thinking about work things as well as gives me a break from doing parenting all alone.
5. Healthier Family
I know some of you are still unconvinced. You’ve tried family meals before and it’s, well, less than appealing. A table full of kids squabbling at one another, kicking under the table, complaining about the meal, getting up and down from the table, all while you’re trying to have adult conversations with your spouse is Stressful! But, let me encourage you that “…researchers found essentially that family dinner gets better with practice; the less often a family eats together, the worse the experience is likely to be, the less healthy the food and the more meager the talk.”
I know we’ve talked a lot about eating together at home but that is not the main goal. Being together is. Having your wallet and meals healthier is less important than the health of your entire family. I know with young ones who need lots of help in the process of eating, children with activities to be at, and teens who are on the go, the idea of getting everyone settled doesn’t alway result in a picture perfect sit down meal. But the more often you do this, in your home or out on the go, it creates the environment to cultivate open communication.
Do you have family meals together? Do you have magic tricks for creating this healthy environment?
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