Family Meal Time

family meals

We have said it hundreds of times over the years…family food prep and meal time are very important. Cooking with your children teaches them so many academic lessons; basic math, measurement, telling time, safety, cause and effect, cooperation and the list goes on and on. In addition it teaches them about food, making healthy choices balancing their food groups and trying new things.  Eating meals together is even more essential to your whole family. Numerous polls show that almost everyone agrees how important family meal time is. However, in today’s age of crazy schedules, hand held devices and segmented media programming too many of our families go their separate ways at meal time.

If logic and common sense can’t convince families to prioritize meal time, statistics could do the trick. The following is an excerpt from thescramble.com:

Why is family dinner so important?

60 Years Ago, the average dinnertime was 90 minutes. Today it is less than 12 minutes.

Family meals have changed…

Fewer meals together: In the past 20 years, the frequency of family dinners has declined 33 percent.

More Prepared Food: Americans spend just 30 percent of their grocery money on fresh food. In comparison, Europeans spend about 53 percent of their budget on fresh food, and Asians about 60 percent, according to a March 2013 report from the Nielsen Company.

97 percent of the children’s restaurant meals studied by the Center for Science in the Public Interest did not meet the expert nutrition standards for children’s meals.

Less than one-fourth of family dinners include a full serving of vegetables, according to a recent survey by Birds Eye.

Fewer Meals at Home: In 1970, Americans spent 26 percent of their food budget on eating out; by 2010, that number had risen to 41 percent. During that time, rates of obesity in the United States more than doubled.

poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that:

  • Busy family schedules are cutting into family dinners together—46 percent of those surveyed said eating together is difficult to do on a regular basis.
  • Fewer than half the parents surveyed admitted that they had eaten together six or seven nights out of the previous week.

…But research shows that dining together is more important than you might think!

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, kids and teens who share family dinners three or more times per week:

  • Are less likely to be overweight
  • Are more likely to eat healthy food
  • Perform better academically
  • Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)
  • Have better relationships with their parents

“More frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors towards others and higher life satisfaction.” –Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2012.

Children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those don’t, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

24 percent of teens want more frequent family dinners.

Families who eat dinner together with the television off eat more fruits and vegetables than those who eat separately or with the television on, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

People think you are a better cook—and a better person—if you serve vegetables at dinner, according to the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab.

The more family dinners you share, the greater the benefits for children and teens!

 

 

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