Did you know that September is National Family Meals Month?
I just learned that myself. You may be asking, “Why do we need to celebrate
family meals?” Families are spending less time together during meals than
previous generations. With our busy lives, we often eat on the run. We’ve been
taught that it’s faster to eat at a restaurant or go to a drive-thru fast-food
chain. But, those meals often lack in nutrition,
with unhealthy portion sizes containing too much salt, sugar, and calories.
Children of all ages can benefit greatly from enjoying a
meal together with their family. According to an article published by the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, some of those benefits include building
family relationships and social skills, better nutrition, learning correct
portion sizes and cooking skills.
In addition, adolescents who participate in frequent family meals
are less likely to experience depression, alcohol and substance abuse, violent
behavior, and disordered eating. A positive relationship exists between
enjoying regular family meals and increased school success and self-esteem, as
Meals don’t have to be gourmet. Keep them simple: roasted
chicken legs with potatoes and carrots, and a simple salad. Roast
extra chicken for chicken salad or tacos
later in the week. Get the children involved in meal prep. Have them set the
table, wash or chop veggies, depending on their age. Some children will even
get excited over weekly meal planning.
So, why not enjoy a family meal together tonight?
You may find you benefit from a family meal, too. Plus, children of all ages
can participate in the post-meal clean-up!