Studies show that eating together improves relationships and makes for healthier, happier families. In this clip from Nourish, pediatrician Dr. Nadine Burke encourages us to make time for shared meals at home. How do you make the most of family mealtime?
Why Mealtime Matters
The family meal has undergone dramatic changes over the last century. Today, “50 percent of meals are eaten outside the home, 20 percent in cars,” says Dr. Burke, medical director of the San Francisco Bayview Child Health Center. But there are many good reasons to bring back family meals.
Sharing and connecting over a home-cooked meal offers health benefits for families, especially children. Cooking at home teaches nutrition and ensures that healthy, whole foods wind up on your family’s plates. Having reliable mealtimes helps children steer clear of junk foods and snacking.
Mealtime strengthens family bonds and offers many social benefits, as well. Conversing at the dinner table nourishes communication skills and emotional intelligence in children. According to an annual report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, teens who eat family dinners at least five times a week perform better in school and are less likely to experiment with smoking, drinking, and drugs.
Next: 6 ways to ensure a healthy and enjoyable family meal