“Dinner’s ready!” – we’ve all heard this phrase at some point or another and it most likely elicits fond memories with family, friends, and loved ones. You probably have a specific picture in your mind of your family eating dinner together, be it a weeknight meal or a holiday.
Many of us enjoy cooking while also fostering a large bonding experience through meals. Gathering around the table was, at a time, a sacred event that was guarded by distractions. Now in the age of technology and overscheduled lives, getting your family to eat dinner together - distraction-free - can be challenging. Now more than ever we must find new ways to engage together as a family.
Benefits of Family Meals Together Around the Table
Dinner is a time to come together to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories, and catch up on the day’s ups and downs while developing a sense of who you are as a family. Researchers have found that families who share meals together on a regular basis reap many benefits. Generally, those meals are more nutritious and kids who eat family meals tend to eat a wider variety of foods and become less picky eaters.
In a recent article from Parents.com, they shared a list of unexpected benefits of family meals together for both children and parents that spotlight the importance of eating together as a family. Here's a peek at the list...
Family meals teach children better eating habits - family meals together is shown to correlate to a better overall diet, especially in children. The study showed that children and teens were more likely to consume more vegetables and fruits, and less sugary beverages and fast food when they are a part of consistent family meals together.
Families eating dinner together can help prevent psychological issues in children - consistent family meals together can help prevent issues with eating disorders, substance abuse, violent behavior, depression, and suicidal thoughts in children.
Family meals can help curtail weight struggles in adulthood - a recent study showed that children who eat at least 1-2 family meals together a week will have reduced odds of obesity or weight issues 10-years down the road.
Family mealtime can improve children's self-esteem - regular family meals together is shown to improve children's self-confidence. As parents, ensure you are asking about their day and truly listening to what they have to say. It shows you value them as human beings and are invested in their daily lives.
Families eating dinner together can help improve communication skills - besides checking up on how each other's day was, family meals together open up dialogue to discuss current events and issues, which helps children become more knowledgeable and better communicators.
Family mealtime can help children bounce back from bullying and/or cyberbullying - JAMA Pediatrics conducted a study of 19,000 children and found that bullying and/or cyberbullying can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and substance abuse with nearly 1 in 5 children experiencing some form of cyberbulling. Regular family contact like eating dinner together can help facilitate more open dialogue between children and parents so they can provide the support needed.
Family meals can be used to supplement family therapy - for families that are undergoing therapy, family dinner together can help bring the lessons learned during therapy to life at the dinner table.
Tips for eating more family meals together
How food is experienced has everything to do with the décor, rituals surrounding the meal, the company, and the entire experience. If you’re not used to sitting down as a family for a meal, pick a place to start and get the whole family involved. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming production, especially with Stay'd on your side!
Here are easy tips on how to eat more family meals together during the week:
Make the family meal a priority. Focus on being together as a family versus making an elaborate meal (that's where Stay'd comes in!)
Start small. Increase the number of family meals by one extra a week.
Plan a menu for the week and make a grocery list as a family.
Get the kids involved! Let them help prep the food or set the table.
Work as a family to clean up together.
Turn off the TV!
Stay’d was born out of our desire to serve and help others in downtown St. Paul and the West End district of Minneapolis. We’re here to provide ease around dinner and family mealtime, keeping the enjoyment and bonding opportunities while removing the potentially painful parts of getting dinner together.
Not only do we help with the ease of prepping dinner, but we are also committed to using responsibly sourced foods by way of local farms and ranches, as well as using sustainable packaging to enhance the food delivery experience.