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More than just a meal: The benefits of eating together

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With life in America running at increasingly frantic speeds, a lot of traditions have fallen by the wayside—including the family dinner. Today’s families are more likely to grab meals on the run between social engagements, eat in front of the computer or television, or just dine out. For many, a “family meal” is what happens on holidays and special occasions when relatives come over.

Should the family meal make a comeback? Here, we present some compelling reasons to clear off your dining room table and gather around regularly.

Boost your family’s health

When you eat regular meals as a family, you can ensure that your kids are getting a healthy, nutritious diet. Most families who dine together end up eating more fruits and vegetables, lean meat and chicken recipes, and healthier side dishes—and less fried foods, fatty desserts, and sugar-laden soda.

Save time and money

Eating at home doesn’t have to be complicated. There are plenty of healthy, easy recipes that take little time to prepare, and are packed with both nutritional value and great taste. In fact, our celebrity chef culture promotes meals that are delicious, affordable, and simple to prepare—a quick online search turns up thousands of possibilities.

Home cooking is also far less expensive than dining out. Even a “cheap” fast food meal for a family of four will run you $25 to $30—while a home-cooked meal for four averages $10 to $15, and can be even less with smart food shopping strategies.

Bring your family together

The modern family is often fragmented, and it’s not uncommon for families to feel more like roommates—especially for those with older or teenage children. Maintaining a tradition of family dinners gives you the opportunity to spend time together in a relaxed environment, without the distractions of everyday life.

Family meals also provide more benefits than better nutrition for your children. Studies have shown that eating dinner together as a family may actually help to improve academic performance, and keep kids away from smoking, alcohol, and drugs.

Even if you start with just two family dinners per week, you’ll start noticing the benefits right away.

 

Do you eat dinner as a family?

 

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