Recent studies all indicate that families who share family meals have children that are much more likely to eat healthy foods. One study focused on the consistency and strength of other studies. It looked at the results of studies involving almost 183,000 children and teens ranging from 3 to 17 years old. The results were striking!
They found that the frequency of shared family meals was directly related to the nutritional health of children and teens. In fact, kids who regularly joined in family meals were 24 percent more likely to eat healthy foods, 12 percent less likely to be overweight, and 35 percent less likely to develop eating disorders. I don’t know about you, but I find these numbers staggering!
Most times, meals prepared at home are more nutritious than restaurant meals. They also tend to be lower in fat, lower in calories and higher in fiber. But that’s only part of the story. These findings also show the value that parents have as role models. We have said before that children may not listen to what you say as a parent, but they often do whatever you do! When your children see you eating healthy foods, they tend to eat them as well. Also, when children see their parents use family meals as an opportunity to talk, share stories and discuss daily events, they tend to do the same. This is especially important as children grow up, since many of their adult eating habits will be developed during childhood.
Even if you’re not a parent, you likely still have the opportunity to be a role model for others. Whenever you have that opportunity, teach children that mealtime is about eating, but more importantly, it’s about family time together.
Do You Wish Your Kid’s Ate Better? Check out our FREE eBook at www.HealthFamilyFuture.com. Many of the strategies in this book can be used by both children and adults.
Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
You may also want to read: The Family Unplugged, Family Meals: It’s About More than Food, Family Meals: Apply the 90/10 Rule