Eating as a Family

We’ve all seen the photos of a family sitting down and enjoying a beautiful meal with happy smiling children and we all know how far away this can be from our reality. The truth is, sitting down and eating as a family is important and often is great family time, but it can also be a challenge.

The reasons family meals are important are:

  • Eating with others encourages healthy eating. Studies have shown when families eat together they eat more vegetables and fruit and less unhealthy foods
  • It’s time to talk and studies show this is really good for adolescent mental health. The researchers found this was because eating together as a family gave adolescents the opportunity to talk about things that concerned or worried them and discussion made them feel valued
  • They are an opportunity to create traditions which become important in creating a shared history and sense of belonging. Examples are a favourite dish on a birthday or a favourite place to eat on a special occasion

Just because most people immediately think of the evening meal as the family meal time, don’t worry if that doesn’t work for you. Family meal time can be whenever you want it to be. Maybe breakfast or lunch works best for your family, that’s absolutely fine, the important thing is to take time to eat together at least four times a week if you can. For health and well-being it is one of the best things you can do for your family!