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Why should our family eat together?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Sometimes family meals are the only times during the day when everyone gets to see each other. Family meals give parents the opportunity to teach about healthy eating and behaviors, instilling these lessons in their children. When kids see parents eating veggies, they’ll model that and want to eat veggies too. Families that eat together are less likely to eat fried foods or drink soda. Overall family meals are times to bond and learn about well-balanced meals.

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
What's really true about family dinnertime is that sharing a sit-down dinner three or more days a week can transform everyone's health and brighten your children's future. If lower blood pressure and reduced risk of cancer and heart disease are not incentive enough, consider this: Dishing up dinner will improve your family ties, improve your love life, and boost your kids' health, self-esteem, and grades. Pass the broccoli, please!

Here are the facts on eating healthy meals at home:
  • Thirty-five percent of kids who have two or fewer meals a week with the family smoke tobacco and marijuana. Compare this to the kids who have family dinner five to seven times a week; only 12% try marijuana and 14% try cigarettes.
  • Home-cooked meals are healthier. They contain less fat and more essential nutrients than the average fast-food meal. (Thirty-three percent of single serving drive-through meals deliver more than half a day's recommended caloric intake.)
  • Eating a home-cooked dinner together three or more times a week cuts your risk and your kids' risk of obesity by 12%, and increases healthy-food intake by 24%.
Remember, at home you can control the portion sizes and slow down the pace of your meal -- a simple way to prevent overeating. Good food (not fast food) equals good health, and that means smarter kids -- not to mention burning passion (and burning calories) for mom and dad.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.