• Advanced social development
• Emotional stability
• Increased academic achievements
• Stable weight
• Reduction in risky behaviors such as drugs, alcohol and unsafe sex
• Better quality diets as adults
• Higher value on meal/snack time as adults
Not sure how to get started with family meals?! Consider the following ideas to help you find a family meal structure that works well for you.
• Time – Pick a time that works well for you and your family – and stick to it!
• Location – Don’t feel stuck if the kids have after-school activities. Family meals can be anywhere! Planning to sit down and eat together for some devoted family time doesn’t mean the kids have to skip all their events. Although, it will likely take more planning on your part to find a common place to meet up and eat together. For example, even a packed picnic on the soccer field before a game could be a family meal!
• Menu – Don’t feel like you have to change what you are eating at meals to have a family meal. To make things easy to start, keep the same foods as the foods you would normally eat… just have them at a consistent time every night.
• Avoid excessive “piecing” between meals – This often throws off hunger patterns and can make maintaining meal time schedules difficult. Scheduled snacks are fine as they will fall far enough away from meals so as to actually support family meals.
• Engage – Make meal times pleasant by purposefully engaging in conversation, word games or other meal time traditions.
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