One of the reasons I love healthy meal planning so much is that it allows you more time to spend with your family. For me that means chatting with my husband over dinner, but for you it may mean hearing all about your children’s day at school.
I’m grateful that my husband and I were both brought up eating dinner with our families around the kitchen table. We continue to sit down each and every night at the table and enjoy a meal together. I even remember as a single girl, living with roommates, that we ate at the table every night. Sharing a meal together creates a bonding experience and allows us a few moments to slow down that I don’t think the next generation should have to do without.
Why Is Eating Dinner Together SO Important?
Meal time is a time to connect, strengthen relationships, share stories and secrets, and to get to know each other better. It may be the hour that matters most in your family’s day. Kids, even teenagers, want to spend time with their parents in a safe and comfortable zone, even if they don’t say it. Couples get to discuss the highs and lows of their day, plan for the future or come up with big ideas.
I read a book for one of my nutrition courses called ‘The Hour That Matters Most’ and there were a hundred golden nuggets in it, but let me quote this one ‘Healthy homes, homes that function as they should — refresh, recharge and renew. They become places where children’s identities find flight and values take root. Healthy, happy families are the result of deliberate intention, determination and practice.’
Don’t get in the habit of treating your kitchen like a pit-stop to re-fuel or a take-away window to grab a plate and head to the couch. A meal prepared at home (with love, not stress) nourishes the family and creates lasting family ties.
According to a study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children who eat dinner with their parents five or more days a week have less trouble with drugs and alcohol, they eat healthier, they show better academic performance, and they report being closer with their parents than children who eat dinner with their parents less often.
So, don’t give up on the family dinner.
You can read more about the importance of eating together as a family at The Family Dinner Project, this website even includes games and family conversation starters.
Along with getting enough exercise, making your own meals from healthy ingredients is one of the most important things you can do to stay fit and healthy. Sharing those meals at a sit-down family dinner models this healthy behavior to your children. They’ll carry that valuable nutrition lesson with them for life.
~ Bob Greene
Andrea Beazley Fubler, Registered Holistic Nutritionist