Getting your family to sit down and have a meal together can be a challenge these days. Busy work schedules and afterschool activities can make scheduling rough. You have to make a firm decision to make this a priority. The statistics are clear on the benefits your family will garner from this. Expanded interaction with your family in a time when people are becoming more disconnected is a needed course for the family. Over the past 20 years family meals together have declined by 33 percent. As of 2010 families were spending about 41 percent of their food budget on meals outside the home. It is no coincidence that this statistic goes along with the spike in child obesity. Restaurants trying to compete for their share of the market are increasing portion size. It is well known that if the food is there it will be consumed. Portion control works much better in the home. You can control what goes on the plate. Home cooked meals are healthier without a doubt. The cost effectiveness speaks for itself as well. The journal of adolescent health reported in 2012 that kids who shared family meals at least times per week are less likely to be overweight, do better academically, are more likely to eat healthier, and have a better relationship with parents. Another statistic form the National center on Addiction and Substance abuse at Columbia University, states that kids who share more meals as a family are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. The data speaks for itself. We must get back to family shared meals.
Now let’s take this a step farther. Get your kids involved with the meal prep. Teaching your kids to cook is a lesson that will serve them their entire life. It is a well-known fact that if you get a kid involved in the cooking process, they are more likely to try new foods. This is your chance to start promoting the importance of healthy eating early on. School nutrition programs try, but with positive reinforcement at home the concept is more likely to succeed. Kids love to help and there is always a task that they can do based on their age level. Sprinkling spices or stirring a pot, setting the table or pouring drinks are suitable for younger kids. Older kids can be a bit more involved. Learning to follow a recipe has many benefits, measuring and weighing, temperatures, all will come in handy in their academic world as well.
So with all these benefits doesn’t make sense to bring back the family dinner? Like I said in a post earlier this week “Let’s start a movement” Sit down unplug, and enjoy each other’s company for a while. It can only improve our relationships. And maybe even make the world as a whole a better place, if not just our little corner of it.
Cook from the heart and taste the love