With the hustle and bustle between work, school, meetings and extracurricular activities, it is hard to find time for families to sit down for meals together these days. I enjoy spending time cooking and feeding my family hearty and nutritious meals. However, something is missing when it comes to quality sit down family meals together. In my household, it seems breakfast is usually a mad dash, lunch is hit or miss, but sometimes the stars miraculously align, and we can all sit down together as a family for dinner.
I’m sad to admit it, family meal time hasn’t been a priority, and it doesn’t happen nearly enough in my house. Most of the time, the kids eat together, and my husband and I end up eating in shifts between baths and bedtime. What’s worse? The TV is usually on, surrounded by cell phones, computers and many other distractions. As my kids are getting older, I have concluded that this is not acceptable. My family deserves more family sit down meals than just on holidays, special occasions or miraculous times when those stars align.
Let’s face it, obviously it would be impossible for us to sit down as a family at every single meal, but I think I can manage to commit to 4-5 times a week. Did you know there is research that supports family mealtime has many positive effects on child development? It’s true; there is a decrease risk of substance abuse, obesity and eating disorders for children of families that eat together at least 4 times a week.
We want our children to flourish in school and to prosper as adults later in life. Guess what Louisiana? According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Louisiana is the most obese state in the U.S. for children and adults. Definitely not a number 1 we should be proud of in our great state. Obesity in childhood often translates to obesity in adults which leads to higher incidences of many other illnesses and diseases. Of course, what our children are eating plays a huge role in the obesity epidemic. Diets full of fast food and high calorie processed snacks are just pieces of the obesity epidemic. However, research shows that families that eat together usually eat more nutritious healthier meals and this can play a part in decreasing the risk of obesity and also a decrease in eating disorders.
Eating family meals together decreases the risk of substance abuse.
Kids are more likely to stay away from cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and not abuse prescription or illicit drugs. What’s more, regular family mealtime leads to improved school grades and it increases the chance of your child graduating from high school.
Regular family meals can generate feelings of closeness and comfort and provide your children with stability. Around the dinner table is the perfect atmosphere for children to communicate with their parents. Take precautions to limit outside distractions during mealtime and utilize the time to bond and connect with your children. Remember, family mealtime leads to healthier kids, so make time for what is important and invest in your kids.