Eating Together as a Family

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We are celebrating National Nutrition Month by highlighting the importance of healthy eating. One of the best ways you can promote healthy eating is by eating dinner together as a family. Make mealtime a family time. If you can get together for meals as a family even a few times a week, family meals mean healthier eating and more. Family meals promote healthier eating like more fruits, vegetables and fiber; less fried food; and often fewer calories.

Family meals do much more than put healthy food on the table. Beyond preparing the meal itself, we sometimes forget that mealtimes offer time to talk, listen and build family relationships. Mealtime is a chance for parents to be good role models for healthful eating. Some ideas for adding family meals to your schedule:

Start slowly. Take the number of meals you eat as a family now, add one more to your weekly schedule. If school nights are too hectic for a family dinner, make it a leisurely weekend breakfast or lunch. After a few weeks, add another family meal to your schedule.

Plan tasty menus together. Putting together a family meal does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Let every member of the family choose a favorite item and build simple, delicious meals around them. Even small children can pick a main dish like tacos or pasta, a vegetable like a green salad or cooked carrots and sliced apples or fruit salad for dessert.

After a month or two of this new pattern, you can add another family meal each week. Before you know it, you will be eating together on most days!

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