Getting the whole family to sit at the dinner table at the same time every night is not the absolute given it used to be. Let’s face it, modern families are busy: parents work late, kids have activities to get to, and food doesn’t cook itself (no matter how much we wish it would)!
While the things that are most worth doing are very rarely easy, eating together as a family is definitely worth it. Making family meals a priority will help everyone at the table eat, feel and think better.
Here’s what the science says:
- When you’re eating as a family, everything is brain food! Teens who eat five to seven family meals are twice as likely to earn As in school as those who eat less than two meals per week with family. Plus, your younger kids will ace their vocabulary quizzes, because kids learn over 1,000 rare words at the dinner table.
- Eat together and everyone eats better. Kids who eat with their families have higher amounts of key nutrients such as calcium, iron and fiber in their diets. They also eat more fruits and veggies and way less soda and fried foods. (Not too surprising, when parents are there to see what goes on their plates.) If you’ve got picky, veggie-phobic eaters, regular family meals will still help. Kids are more willing to try new foods if they’re introduced to it during a family meal.
- Family meals make for happier kids. Kids who eat regular family meals are better adjusted and better able to cope with stress. They also have better communication skills and manners.
- They make for happier grown-ups, too! No matter how stressful work gets, taking time to come home and eat with your family can reduce work-related tension.
- What’s healthy for your body is also healthy for your budget. The average household spends about $8 per person on every meal eaten outside of the home, but when you stay in, the cost to feed each family member goes down to just $4.50. Eat at home often enough, and you could save up for a pretty swell family vacation!
We get it, even when you know all these benefits, getting a family meal organized is often still pretty challenging. You don’t have to be perfect. Try adding just one day a week where everyone makes eating together a priority and go from there. You’ll be amazed at what a difference even one day makes!
What’s your favourite tip for getting the family together for dinner? Let us know over on the Zabiha Halal Facebook Page!