In the whirlwind of life, it is tragically easy for family dinners to slip from our priority list. However, bringing back the family dinner can be a real game-changer for the whole house. In this article, we delve into five compelling reasons why family dinners are a tradition worth reviving:
The Magic of Home Cooking Together
Home cooking can be cheap (compared to takeouts), healthy, and encourages bonding together as a family. You can source ingredients, find environmentally friendly cookware, and plan a healthy menu together. This can include specialties that certain family members love to make, or working around a certain dietary requirement or cuisine theme – the possibilities are endless.
When handled this way, the experience of having a family dinner is not just about sitting down to eat. Rather, it’s about planning together, preparing together, and enjoying the entire experience, including bonding over the drudgery of doing the dishes afterward!
Shared Meals Encourage Communication
Communication within a family is vital, ensuring everybody has a chance to feel heard, cared about, wanted, loved, admired, and valued. On an average day, families have school, chores, work, socializing outside of the home, self-care, and errands to get through. With so much going on, thoughtful communication isn’t always so easy to achieve. This is where a family dinner comes in. Just a half hour or more of sitting down together can be enough time to reunite a distant family, helping you find togetherness again.
Science Backs Family Dinners
According to the latest research, regular family dinners are associated with:
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower rates of anxiety
- Lower rates of substance abuse
- Reduced risk of eating disorders
- Higher rates of resilience
- Higher self-esteem
That is pretty compelling evidence that a family dinner once or twice a week is a fantastic idea. If you want solid hard facts to encourage the family to make more effort to eat together, you’ve got them.
Weight Control Is Easier
The prevalence of obesity in the US sits at 41% for adults, with one in six children currently falling under obese guidelines too.
More than just a lifestyle condition, obesity contributes to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, certain cancer types, strokes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, and more.
The good news is that family meals are proven to help make weight control much easier.
They do this by helping everyone handle, discuss, and process the stresses of daily life together. In turn, this helps reduce the likelihood of comfort-eating habits.
Family dinners also promote sensible eating habits, driven strongly by social context. Eating together, we are likely to reflect the habits of others, so children are much more likely to copy their parents’ eating habits. Assuming the table has a mixture of healthy fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fruit, and veg, a family dinner can boost everyone’s health in numerous ways.
It Has Academic Benefits
Studies suggest that children who do not eat regularly with their parents have a massively increased risk of truancy. The average amount of truantism is about 15%, but that percentage doubles if the pupils don’t often share a meal with their families.
Truancy has the potential to impact a child’s academic performance and school dropout potential while increasing their risk of substance abuse. Just by sitting down as a family and sharing regular meals, you can have a positive impact on your child’s future.
What’s on the Family Dinner Menu Tonight?
Family dinners are a simple tradition with immeasurable significance. Let’s make an effort to gather around the table more often, reinforcing the bonds that matter the most.