We all want the best for our families, and serving a nutritious dinner each night is one way to guarantee better health. But it’s not just about what you put on the plate that matters, the other essential ingredient to your families overall wellbeing is sharing dinner together at the table.
Busy schedules of work, school, sports and social commitments are no excuse for not making time for dinner together a few times a week. Dinner is a time to relax, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while refuelling over a balanced meal. The benefits of sharing a meal together extend far beyond the table as well. Recent studies link regular family dinners with:
– Improved vocabulary in young children
– Higher academic performance in school
– Consumption of fewer fried foods and soft drinks
– Consumption of more fruits and vegetables
– Decreased risk of obesity in youth and adulthood
– Less risky behaviours (e.g. smoking or binge drinking) during adolescence
– Positive moods in adolescents
-Lower rates of depression
While it may not be possible to have dinner together every night of the week, aim for at least three nights around the table together. Enlist the help of children to set the table or chop vegetables, as well as clear items once the meal has finished. And make sure all digital devices are switched off during dinner. Who needs Facebook when you’ve got funny anecdotes and terrible Dad jokes to share!