We often hear experts say that the family who eats together, stays together but is there any evidence to support this? Surely whether we eat alone or in a social group has no bearing on our relationships, or does it? Most families these days eat far less together than they used to. Whether it’s down to changing work patterns, after-school activities or just not enough time for cooking hearty meals that everyone could sit down to. Here are some reasons why we should still be making the effort:
- Better Food Choices
Eating together as a family seems to have an effect on how well we eat. Surveys have found that children and teens who regularly sit down to eat with their family consume less fried food and sugary soda than those who don’t. Their meals also contained higher levels of calcium, fibre and iron. Eating together also provides more opportunity to discuss what is being eaten, which helps children to learn about nutrients and what foods provide which essential vitamins and minerals.
When we often eat together we enjoy the benefits of emotional strength and better mental health. This instinctive human act of social eating appears to have an important part to play in learning how to communicate, develop social skills and share a connection with someone. It’s not children who benefit either, as studies show lower stress levels in parents who eat with their families too. Preparing, serving and eating together strengthens family bonding. Serve up something delicious tonight with Food Recipes from http://food-tales.com/online-food-recipes/
A link has even been found between sharing family meals and achieving better grades at school. Teens who share mealtimes with their family at least five times a week are twice as likely to achieve A’s and B’s in school.
- Better Relationships
This is a no-brainer but the more time spent together as a family unit, the more opportunity there is for strengthening bonds. As children are growing up, this regular set part of family routine offers a sense of belonging and security. Even teens, who you might think would do anything to avoid the family dinner, say that chatting, catching up, swapping stories and laughing is the best part of family mealtimes.
- Save Money
Buying and preparing your own food to cook at home is a much cheaper option than living off fast food and eating out. Generally, eating out costs twice as much as the cost of a meal at home so if you want to eat well for less then get everyone involved in preparing, cooking and serving a delicious meal at home. It’s also a great education for kids to learn cooking skills for later life.
- Portion Control
Most restaurant portions are larger than we would prepare if we were cooking at home and can contain up to 60% more calories. Maintaining a healthy weight, sensible portion sizes and the lack of temptation to overeat means that home cooking remains the healthiest option for families and the best way to fight the obesity epidemic.