Here's a question that often brings on a guilt-trip for most moms: Do you have family dinners most nights?
Feeling guilty yet? Don't.
Eating together as a family is practically impossible by the time everyone gets home from work, school activities, soccer practice, and who knows what else. But studies show that family dinners can have tremendous benefits for kids and adults alike...
Here are five reasons why you should make time for family dinner—if for some miraculous reason you can manage to squeeze it in:
1. Family dinner is good for kids. Study after study shows that children who eat dinner with their families, and thereby engage with parents on a regular basis, are less likely to:
- Get bad grades.
- Get depressed.
- Develop an eating disorder.
- Abuses alcohol or drugs.
- Smoke cigarettes.
2. Family dinner is good for you. It may seem counter-intuitive given how stressful making dinner can be, but some research suggests that family dinners—namely, the time spent together as a family—can be a stress-reliever for mom.
3. Family dinner is a money-saver. Trying to cut down on family expenses? Eating together at home is less expensive than grabbing separate meals to go on the way home from the office or from ballet class.
4. Family dinner is healthier than eating out. Restaurant meals are loaded with fat and calories. Most home-cooked meals are healthier for your family. Plus, some kids are more likely to try new foods if they see everyone else at the table eating it.
5. Family dinner is fun. When else can you get the whole family together? Plus, it's a great opportunity to serve fun meals that your family loves but don't ordinarily get to eat, for example, Make-Your-Own-Pizza Night, Baked Potato Bar, or Taco Night.
How many times a week do you eat dinner as a family?