Sitting as a family at the same table may seem like a daunting task in our fast paced lives. We are often racing to and from work, school, and extracurricular activities. Eating occurs when it’s convenient, which means we sometimes in the car and often on the go. Believe it or not, taking time to sit and eat as a family can have positive effects on health!
The benefits may seem obvious: sitting down for a few minutes as a family provides an opportunity to learn what’s going on in each others’ lives, to discuss any upcoming events, and time to get to know new goals and successes. Amazingly, it also is associated with better health for children and teens.
Families who have only 3 meals a week together (where at least one parent is present) have children who are more likely to be normal weight (so not overweight or obese). Children and teens who share at least 3 meals a week together are also more likely to eat a healthier variety of food and less likely to engage in eating disordered behavior (skipping meals, binging or purging, using diet pills or laxatives, fasting or restricting food intake, or using food substitutions).
When I actually think about logistics, there are 3 meals a day and 7 days in a week. That’s 21 opportunities to eat as a family! Benefits are seen with just 3 meals as a family per week, so devoting a few minutes each week to eat as a family may be more attainable than we think.
So, take a few moments out of a busy schedule to eat as a family. The benefits will include learning more about each other and improved health.