At Vitaerobics, we talk a lot about creating a “healthy family future”, but what does that really mean? It means making the healthy choices each day that make it possible for your family to live a healthy life and create a healthy foundation for generations to come!

One way to create that healthy future is through family meal times. Studies show that families that eat together tend to eat healthier and eat a wider variety of foods, creating a foundation for a healthy future. And eating family meals can have lots of other benefits too.

Here are just 5 of the benefits of eating together as a family:

Healthier meals. When families eat together, they tend to eat healthier. First, you control the ingredients when you cook at home. Second, since there is only one meal being served, it’s easier to be a role model for your kids. They see what you eat and want to copy it. So, if you eat your vegetables, then it’s more likely they will too.

Better communication. When everyone sits down at the table together, it’s much easier to communicate. But these conversations can be problematic, too. If you have teenagers at home, then you know all about “one word answers.” Instead of asking how school was, or what did you do today (both of which will usually get an “ok” or “nothing” response, try asking your kids, “what questions did you ask today?”

Opportunities to teach. When you cook at home and eat together, there are plenty of opportunities to teach. Its reading, math and science in a way that’s fun, useful and engaging. For example, use reading  to find a recipe,  use math  to measure ingredients and determine portion size, and science to learn where each food come from and what nutrients it contains. Take the opportunity to engage your kids in conversations about a wide variety of subjects and use this time to strengthen and build skills that will help them in school.

Lower costs. Eating at home is much less expensive than eating out or bringing fast food home. And eating healthy doesn’t need to be any more expensive either. A nice pasta dish and a salad with chopped veggies can be very inexpensive.

More fun. Take the opportunity to have fun while you’re together. Depending on the ages of your kids, there are lots of games that you can play based around food. Can they name a state where the food you’re eating is grown? Can they think of other things you can make with the same ingredients? Can everyone think of something that begins with the same letter as each ingredient? How many colors did you eat today? These are just a few of the food-related games you can play as a family.

So, as you can see, eating together not only is good for the body, it is good for family relationships – so eat together as a family in 2012. Look at how many times you currently eat together as a family and set a goal to increase that. Some easy ways to do that are: Set aside one night a week and create a theme dinner (Mexican, Italian, or whatever your family favorite is) and enjoy it together. Let each member of the family plan dinner one night a week.

Eating together doesn’t have to be limited only to dinner either. How about Saturday morning breakfast together, or a Sunday afternoon picnic? The most important thing is that you do it together in a way that works for your family’s schedule and lifestyle.

For more ideas to get the year started right, download our idea filled free eBook, Do You Wish Your Kids at Better?

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What one healthy choice will you make today?

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