Monday, July 26, 2010

Family Meal Time

In a recent book entitled The Surprising Power of Family Meals, author Miriam Weinstein asks this question: “What if I told you that there was a magic bullet - something that would improve the quality of your daily life, your children’s chances of success in the world, (and) your family’s health . . . something that is inexpensive, simple to produce, and within the reach of pretty much everyone?”

That magic bullet is the family meal. According to research, eating together as a family on a regular basis has some surprising effects. When sharing a meal together, family bonds become stronger, children are better adjusted, family members eat more nutritional meals, they are less likely to be overweight, and they are less likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs.

One benefit of eating meals together is the affect on strengthening family bonds. Family meals provides a daily time for the whole family to be together. For younger children, having routine family meals can provide a sense of security and a feeling of belonging in the family.

Older children and teenagers, too, prefer eating together as a family. In a recent Columbia University study, 84% of teenagers said they preferred to have dinner with their families. Research also shows that youth who have regular family meals report getting better grades in school, are more motivated at school, and get along better with others.

Your family is probably like all others – you’re busy! So how can you make time for family meals? Take a pledge to eat five meals a week, breakfast, lunch or dinner, as a family for five weeks. After five weeks it will become a family tradition. Let me know if your family takes the pledge and how you made time for the family meal.