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Published on August 21, 2013

August is Family Meals Month

August 21, 2013

The benefits of family mealtime include:

  • Relationships. Eating together helps build a close relationship with your children. It gives everyone in the family a chance to learn more about each other. Turn off the TV and do not answer the phone during mealtime.  Instead use this time to talk, connect, and make memories together.
  • Better Nutrition. Meals prepared at home are usually more nutritious than meals eaten while dining out.
  • Portion Sizes. Children learn about correct portion sizes, food groups, and nutrition when eating with their family. Let the children learn by serving themselves at dinner. Teach them to take small amounts at first. Tell them they can get more if they are still hungry.
  • Stability. Eating with your child gives them a sense of security. Studies show that this decreases the chances that the child will engage in activities such as smoking and drinking.
  • Saves Money. Eating at home saves the family money. It is cheaper to cook meals at home than it is to dine out.
  • Cooking Skills. Get everyone involved in meal preparation. Kids love to help prepare food. Letting them help prepare food will help them feel valued and part of the family.
  • Social Skills. Eating together as a family gives the children an opportunity to learn and practice their social skills, table manners, and conversation skills.
  • New Foods. Offer your children new foods, but do not force them to eat it.  Let them choose how much to eat. Kids are more likely to enjoy a food when eating it is their own choice.

 

Michael Ann Kelly, MS, RD
Licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist

 

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, www.eatright.org, retrieved June 11, 2013. 

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