Everybody Does Better with Family Meals

You know that family meals are important, and studies backs up what you know. Adults who have regular meals eat better, are healthier, and are slimmer. Children and teens who have family meals eat better, feel better about themselves, get along better with other people, and do better in school. They are less likely to gain too much weight, abuse drugs, smoke, and have sex. In fact, family meals have more to do with raising healthy, happy children than family income, whether the child has one or two parents living in the home, after-school activities, tutors, or church. But as children move through the teen years, families are more likely to eat on the run than have meals together.

Here are more reasons to hold the line with family meals:

  • Meals help adults and children learn to like a variety of food.
  • Meals let everyone go to the table hungry and eat until they get enough. That helps both adults and children eat the amount they need to weigh what is right for them.
  • Meals give a time and place to do the work of the family: Keep up with what is going on with everyone; help each other out, tell family stories.
  • Meals keep food in its place as only one of life's great pleasures. You pay attention and enjoy it when it is time to eat, forget about it between times.

For more about family meals(and for research backing up this advice), see Ellyn Satter's Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How to Eat, How to Raise Good Eaters, How to Cook, Kelcy Press, 2008. Also see www.EllynSatterInstitute.org/store to purchase books and to review comprehensive educational materials

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