Making time for family time
Eating together isn’t just about getting kids to eat their veggies rather than feeding them to the dog when you’re not looking. It’s also about family time; spending time together as a family, talking and listening to each other, and sharing stories. Believe it or not, 59% of families already enjoy the social and health benefits of eating together at least five times a week.
Sharing your nutrition knowledge
When you eat together, you are more likely to talk about the food you eat and the reasons why it is important. Children absorb knowledge all the time and when they understand why the food they eat is important, they are more likely to eat it. And if you can get kids involved in the preparation and cooking of the food so that they have a greater understanding of where it comes from, that is even better.
While it is better to start a balanced diet from a young age, it is also never too late to start. Introducing new foods at shared meal times is a great way to turn dinner into a science experiment, or a taste test. The more children are exposed to different foods, the more they are likely to try them and eventually eat them regularly. While positive reinforcement, with new foods and consistent role-modeling is the best way to go, sometimes it will still boil down to eat your veggies before you can leave the table.
Family nutrition isn’t just about what you eat; it is also about how much. When kids eat alone, it can be difficult to know how much as well as what they are actually eating. Eating together does not just benefit the portion control of the kids, it is also a great way for you to see what and how much you are eating. It is not until you see your portion up against someone else’s that you necessarily realize how much of certain foods you are actually eating regularly.
All round health
A report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse suggests that kids that eat with their families at least five times a week are much less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when they are older. Coupled with improved physical and mental health, this is just one more reason to figure out time in your family’s business schedule to eat together. Once you start to see the benefits, it will become a permanent part of your family routine.