Family eating together have always been important. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 40 percent of Americans are now cooking at home more. Also, 35 percent say they have become more successful at avoiding food waste.
Here are some more important facts about the importance of families eating together.
Family meals keep us connected. The communication and relationship skills learned at family meals prepare us to survive and thrive during life’s ups and downs.
Family meals are the foundation for a healthy nation. The nourishment we get at family meals help us to be physically and emotionally fit.
Family meals have always been one of the best healthy habits. There are many scientific studies that prove that more frequent family meals are associated to better nutrition and family dynamics.
Parents are working to break down the barriers that stand in the way of their family meals. They are doing this by serving meals that you know your children enjoy; making sure everyone is home at dinner time; having and sticking to a set dinner time; and serving meals that require less time to prepare.
Children who grow up sharing family meals are more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior as adults, such as sharing, fairness and respect.
With each additional family meal shared every week, adolescents are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behavior or delinquent acts.
Family meals fuel better nutrition and help to reduce obesity. The more meals families share, the better they eat, literally, consuming more healthy items including fruits, vegetables, fiber, calcium-rich foods and vitamins.
Family meals strengthen family bonds, as they provide a regular time for the whole family to be together, strengthening bonds and deepening relationships.
Family meals help teach family heritage. The meals are a representation of the ethnic, cultural and religious heritage of the family. Understanding and appreciating your roots can give you a sense of stability and identity in the world today.
Family meals make the grad. Kids from kindergarten to college who eat meals with their families four times a week or more earn better test scores and succeed in school.
Family meals increase self-esteem, a sense of wellbeing, positive social behaviors, and stronger family relationships.
Resource: Family Meals Movement
Kathy Smith is a Texas A&M AgriLife extension agent in Parker County.