The Benefits of Eating Together as a Family
To mark “Eat Together, Eat Better Month” celebrated each October
Surveys show that approximately 30% of all families eat dinner together, three or less times a week and 10% never, ever, eat together.
This is such a shame as family meal times provide an opportunity for the whole family (and friends too) to get together. It should be a time of fun and laughter – a time to build better relationships and self-esteem, create a sense of belonging, and to strengthen ties.
|Eating together is not important just for children—it’s important for adults, too.|
By being role models and setting examples, parents can instil manners, teach children social skills and the art of conversation, give them confidence and inculcate healthy eating habits – what better time than at meals.
Five Reasons to Eat Meals Together
- Health: People of all ages eat better when they share a meal with others. Eating home cooked meals is just more healthy for everyone, and food selection can eliminate harmful junk food, sugars, calories, etc. It encourages families to develop normal eating behaviour. People who eat together tend to eat less because they eat more slowly and talk more.
- Nutrition: When eating together, people tend to eat more vegetables and fruits and other nutrient-rich foods. They tend to eat less fried and fast foods. Home cooked meals are healthier.
- Social: Sharing mealtimes means more communication and family connection. Teaches children social skills and the art of conversation. Research indicates that children who eat family meals together, tend to have a lower chance of engaging in high risk behaviours such as substance use/abuse and violence.
- Mental: Being a part of a family unit, creates better self-esteem, could eliminate depression and avoid eating disorders. It creates confidence, a sense of belonging and improves relationships.
- Communication: Eating together can happen at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Choose the meal that gives you the most time to talk and connect. The more the children talk, the better communicators they will become.
How to get it right
- Schedule time to eat together and stick to it. Start by scheduling one meal per week and increasing the number every 2 or three weeks – put it in the diary!. Try to plan activities that will not interfere with mealtimes
- Invite friends and family to dinner for healthy meals which include the children.
- Set up meals together such as picnics in the park, sunset dinners, home braais etc.
- Get commitment from every member of the family.
- As a family, plan menus and make shopping lists. Get the children more involved by encouraging them to select their food preferences and experiment with new and trendy foods – they will become less fussy eaters.
- Include children in the planning
- Make mealtimes fun and include everyone in all activities relating to meals; planning, selecting, preparing cooking and washing up. This is also providing them with important life skills. Focus on enjoying each other’s company, not on what or how much the children are eating.
- Use mealtimes to educate and teach values and family traditions – make it interesting.
- Keep conversations positive. Learn from the children – encourage them to share experiences and listen to what they have to say.
- Don’t use mealtimes to admonish or discipline – choose another time.
- Turn off all technology that is likely to distract – TVs, computers, tablets, phones. Remove toys and books from the table whilst the meal is in progress.
- Be the perfect role model in terms of table manners, experimentation with new foods, communicating and having fun.
- AND learn from your children.
Today’s busy lifestyles make getting together a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. It’s time to refocus energy on family meals to enjoy tasty and healthy dishes around the table together.
At Flava & Co. we truly believe in this philosophy. We will go out of our way to assist you in building better and more healthy lifestyles for both you and your family.
Our customers have told us that Flava DIY has brought them closer together as a family – from the time the box arrives, unpacking, selecting the preferred meal, to preparation, cooking and eating – they just love the time spent together.
Flava DIY meal kits make dinner times so much more fun as the whole family can become involved in the easy process of putting a wonderful meal together. Try it, you’ll see, it works