Do you eat your meals together as a family?
Since our children were small we have made a conscious effort to eat our meals together. Especially dinner at the end of the day. My husband and I began this habit as we thought it would be a good way to start a routine.
It later became a time of the day that we could sit down and talk with the kids about their days. It also helped that as soon as my babies were eating solids, we fed them what we were eating.
I know that some families find it hard to sit together, with one parent often working late or unusual hours. When this happened in our house I’d still make sure I sat and ate with the kids.
I was recently reading some finding from the American Dietetic Association that stated ‘Eating together as a family during adolescence is associated with lasting positive effects on dietary quality in young adulthood. The researchers found eating family meals together during adolescence resulted in adults who ate more fruit, dark-green and orange vegetables and key nutrients, and drank less soft drinks.
When I think about my childhood meals, they were social, spent eating home cooked meals of meat and vegetables with my siblings and parents. As I have converted to eating Paleo, I have noticed a return to this way of eating.
This theory also flows into other areas, for example, teaching your children about healthy ingredients and basic cooking principles…all positive skills to help them in the future. Also, they are often learning table etiquette, to build strong family relationships, and good social skills. It can also improve digestion by slowing the meal time down to include conversation.
Family meals don’t have to be too serious though. More often than not kids will make a mess with their food, spill a drink and some times just not be the most enjoyable company (I do like to keep it real here), but we all have those days. The next meal you might all share a laugh or create a treasured family memory.
Results of this study suggested that having more family meals during adolescence is associated with improved diet quality during young adulthood. For such a simple action of all sitting down together and enjoying your meals as a family the benefits are huge.
Do you sit down and eat with your children?
Having read that it could assist in setting good eating habits for them in the future, would you consider doing it? I’d love to hear what you think.