What is the history of your childhood meals? Were family dinners a nightly occurrence, or was it more like a once per week kind of thing?
When reflecting upon the tradition of family meals in your life, it’s easy to make connections with the person you are today. Although it probably isn’t something we think about on a regular basis, the importance of a family meal is crucial to how your child thinks and behaves and how you as a parent feel. The benefits of having these nightly get-togethers carry well into the future and have the power to create a happier and healthier life overall for the entire family.
There are countless positives that emerge from a tradition of family meals, here, we share just a few.
When families eat together they eat healthier. Fruits and veggies are enjoyed in fun and creative ways, fresh and homemade meals are prepared and most importantly – fried foods and foods with trans fats are primarily avoided.
In addition to a healthier diet, when family meals are enjoyed kids’ grades are higher, better parent-child relationships occur and there is less tension and stress in the home. Research has actually shown that one of the best ways for parents to stay involved in their children’s lives is through these nightly dinners. Not to mention, adults report higher overall life satisfaction.
So, now that we’ve convinced you to make family meals a priority, it would only be fair to provide you with a few tips on how to turn this great idea into a reality.
Keep it simple! – Just because you may be cooking for more than you and your spouse doesn’t mean you have to create an elaborate 5-course meal. Make a list of family favorites and use them in rotation. Hey, grilled cheese and tomato soup might just be the key to happy dinner table conversations!
Make it enjoyable! – Get your kids involved. One of the best ways for kids to enjoy dinner is if they can help plan out the meals or if they can anticipate a certain meal one night a week. Try Friday Pizza Night or Pancake Dinner Wednesdays. Your kids wont be the only ones looking forward to family dinners!
Play a game! – A game?! At the dinner table?! Yes! Go around the table with each person telling the best or most exciting thing about their day. Whoever has the best news gets out of doing the dishes!
For a more complete list of benefits and how-to planning tips, check out 10 reasons why, and 10 shortcuts to help get the family to the table from WebMD.