The Benefits of family Meal
But the benefits of family meals go beyond nutrition and family unity. Family meals are also an opportunity to promote child development2. Regular family meals teach children many things that will enrich their lives beyond the immediate health benefits of eating nutritious food.
- Memories Taking the time to sit together at mealtime helps create positive memories for yourself and your family.
- Enjoyment The first and most important place where children learn positive attitudes about food is in the home. Eating meals together starts a lasting and positive relationship with food.
- Self Esteem Mealtime conversation brings the family together and promotes positive self-esteem in children.
- Life skills Children learn best by doing, not watching, so get them involved! You can teach children how to cook balanced meals for themselves by including them in meal planning and preparation.
- Traditions Mealtime is an ideal time to strengthen family ties and pass on family cultural traditions. Whether you are celebrating a holiday or just eating an everyday meal, things you do in your home will be passed down to your children and grandchildren.
- Curiosity Kids are more likely to try new foods when they are involved in meal preparation. They have a natural curiosity about food so be sure to offer new foods at mealtime (but never force them to try them.)
- Relaxation Family meals are the perfect time to connect with each other and share your stories of the day. Shared time and positive experiences with your children is great way connect and relax together after a hectic day of work, school and errands.
- Responsibility Research has shown that cooking with kids and assigning tasks surrounding mealtime, promotes independence and a sense of responsibility in the kitchen – and in life.
- Communication Having conversations at mealtime increases your children’s vocabulary. Encourage them to speak by asking about the best part of their day and probe more about what made the best part so great.
- Love Children watch and imitate adults, and look to them to learn proper behavior for everything from saying please and thank you to learning about fitness and nutrition. Mealtime is the ideal time to remind your children every day that they are important and loved.
Isn’t it time to make family meals a habit in your home?