The Benefits of Family Meals

Do you eat as a family? Research has shown that there are benefits to eating together as a family. I believe it. When I was raising my daughter, I made it a point to prepare a meal and we sit at the table as a family. Sometimes it would breakfast, but the majority of the time it was dinner. I used it as an opportunity to discuss the events of the day, and to exchange other pertinent information. I remember my daughter having a guest one week-end. We decided to order pizza. When the pizza arrived, her guest opened the box to have a slice. I explained to her friend that we didn’t eat out of the box, I set the table and we shared the meal.

It was a beautiful day, so I decided to make use of the deck for the meal. The young lady seemed shocked and at a lost when I set out dinner plates, glasses, forks, knifes and napkins. I had prepared a salad and ice tea to go along with the pizza, so I placed the salad and pitcher of tea on the table as well. She explained that they didn’t eat that way in her home. Everyone eat when and what they wanted, and I could find her mother with a beer in her hand any time of the day or night. Once we sat at the table and I started the dinner conversation, she became at ease and joined in. I realized how differently things were done in her home and family dinners were truly a benefit. Family dinners allowed me to:

  • Be a role model and set an example for my daughter
  • Find out what was happening with her in school 
  • Find out what was happening with her friends
  • Discuss outside activities and the news
  • Discuss what was happening with other family members
  • Make plans for the week-end

A study at Cornell University has shown that having family meals also prevent:

  • Youth drug/substance abuse
  • Unhealthy eating habits
  • Developing a disconnect with parents
  • Failure in school

Because of family meals, my daughter grew up eating healthier and knowing the importance of family, school, planning and setting goals. Do you plan family meals? Leave me a comment and share how your family has benefited from family meals.