Friday, November 30, 2007

The Family Table: Evidence and Support

Family Meals are better for your mental health, your physical health and your wallet. Below is just a small sample of evidence.

Creating the family dinner promotes healthy eating. Many studies identify nutritional benefits associated with eating meals together. One study, conducted by the Baylor College of Medicine, demonstrated that meals eaten together consist of about 50% more fruits and vegetables than meals consumed alone. In addition, family meals are three times more likely to include low-fat choices and are far less likely to include soda. In another study, Harvard University researchers found that children who ate dinner with their families were more likely to have better nutritional intakes at meals. The study identified families where mothers worked to underscore the fact that family dinner was possible even when parents had less time.

The family dinner can bring financial benefits as well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43% of the family food budget in 2006 was spent on “away from home” meals compared to food purchased from a grocery store. They also report that this translates into more than $2,000 per family per year spent on dinners away from home, and that 10% of those dinners come from McDonald’s. Guess how healthy those meals were. (Or look it up here.)

These benefits don't develop overnight, but often you can see results after a few meals together. Don't get discouraged if your first few attempts don't go over as well as you had hoped. A Time magazine article from June 2006 (cite) lends support and evidence to the idea that:

Family Dinners get better with practice.

It will for your family too!

This blog will be published Monday- Friday. Have a great weekend! (Psst....make a family meal this weekend!)

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