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How can family meals help my child do better in school?

Michele Borba
Psychology
A recent study by Columbia University showed that kids whose families eat regular, relaxed meal together are not only less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and develop eating disorders-they are also more likely to achieve higher grades.

Family dinners do not have to consist of gourmet, five-course meals. Serve simple, healthy meals, turn off the television and unplug the phone, and enjoy each other’s company. And if everyone in your family is on a different schedule and can’t make it to dinner- don’t worry! Consider instating an evening family snack time where everyone can review their days with each other before bedtime.

The trick is to find what works best for you family and turn it into a routine. Keep in mind it’s not the macaroni and cheese dish has nothing to do with giving your kid the academic edge. It’s those informal: “How was your day?” “What are you discussing in science?” “How do you plan to study for that test?” kind of discussion topics that let your kid know your family prioritizes education.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Sharing a meal gives families the opportunity to bond and share stories. Families that eat together are less likely to eat foods that are high in fat, sodium, and sugar. Kids need all the nutrients they can get from fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Eating these types of foods will ensure your child gets a variety of vitamins and nutrients, needed to help build their body and brain – thereby performing better at school. Children that participate in these meals are more likely to talk with their parents about a problem, more likely to pay attention at school, and less likely to have behavior issues.

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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.