New Years Resolutions for 2011:
1. Lose Weight.....eat dinner.
2. Eat More Fruits and Veggies...eat dinner
3. Help Support Kids to do better in school...eat dinner
4. Help Kids Make Healthy Choices (avoid obesity, smoking and drugs)...eat dinner
5. Make time for family and improve relationship with your partner...eat dinner.
Eating dinner with your family is the answer to many common New Year's resolutions. Family dinner takes a committment (what better time to make one?), but the time and effort it takes is more than paid back in the benefits to you and your family.
Mark Bittman recently wrote about how cooking at home is the key to a more healthy and sustainable life. One Department of Agriculture statistic estimated that normal weight Americans spent just 6.8 more minutes per day, on average, shopping and preparing meals than overweight Americans. In light of the fact that Americans spend 35 hours a week watching television, this is not a lot of time.
I'd add that the routine of family dinner, with its daily connection and conversations, can improve emotional health and relationships as well. If you add a walk after dinner or count schlepping groceries, you might just add one more resolution to the list: "Get More Exercise."
Consider making family dinners (3 or more nights a week) the centerpiece of your efforts to have a happy, healthy new year for you and your family. Happy 2011!
Articles and Resources:
Chop, Fry, Boil: Eating for One, or 6 Billion, Mark Bittman NYT 12.31.10
Back to Basics for Healthy Weight Loss, American Dietetic Association, www.eatright.org
CASA 2010 Report: The Importance of Family Dinner
eatdinner.org Posts from 2010 with more tips on making family dinner work