5 reasons family meals matter

5 reasons family meals matter

When was the last time your family enjoyed a meal together? For many, shared meals are the exception because parents and children are juggling conflicting schedules. Eating together as a family gives parents and kids a chance to talk, connect and bond.

We combed through the research and found our top five reasons to consider making time to eat together.

1. Healthier Families: when families dine together regularly, parents and kids are more likely to make better food choices. Studies have shown children eat more fruits and vegetables and are less likely to be overweight.

2. Better grades: children from families who eat meals together often do better in school. When families eat together regularly, kids tend to develop better language skills since they're encouraged to talk and exchange ideas with their parents.

3. Improved self-esteem: studies have shown that kids with regular family mealtimes are less likely to get depressed, consider suicide, use drugs, or develop an eating disorder. If children eat with their parents it becomes an opportunity for the adults to catch problems early.

4. Life skills: meal preparation is a skill that keeps on giving. Kids can help mom and dad shop For groceries, cook or set the table (oh ... and clean up!). Kids can learn how to prepare healthier meals by following their parents' example. Getting kids involved helps promote independence and sense of responsibility in the home and in life.

5. Family bonding: eating together gives family members the chance to communicate, interact and find out what's going on with their lives. Kids learn by example. It's a way for family members to become positive role models.

Eating together as a family is an important ritual that has lasting effects beyond childhood - and an essential part in raising happy and healthy kids.

Stumped for meal ideas or trying to find ways to squeeze everyone in at the family table? Tell us what advice you'd like from our experts! Here's how:

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