Monday, March 22, 2010

Eating as a Family is VERY IMPORTANT!

My friend shared this post today – click here to read it!

A few nights ago Scott and I shared the importance of our eating together as a family every single night too.  We spend almost 1.5 hours together each night from the start of dinner until we are finished with our evening bible story, Q&A and then just fun time listening to the children sharing the days events. 

Time magazine published an article about this very thing in 2006. 

It is amazing to us how many people live on the go and rarely eat as a family.  Not to mention how few children know what it means to sit together at a table where they are enjoying family time. Truly sad and tragic.  It is a big portion of the breakdown of our nation and can easily be fixed – by us the parents.  Take back your family and enjoy eating in!  You all know health is very important to me and our family.  I spent many years doing research on healing the body naturally and wrote a book with over 250 recipes.  You can check that out here.  Whenever possible use organic foods!

If you want some more reasons to eat as a family tonight – here are eight I found today!

Reason #1: Communication and Well-Being
Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. It’s a chance to share information and news of the day, as well as give extra attention to your children and teens. Family meals foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging. It can be a unifying experience for all.


Reason #2: Model Manners (and more)
Family mealtime is the perfect opportunity to display appropriate table manners, meal etiquette, and social skills. Keep the mood light, relaxed, and loving. Try not to instruct or criticize—lead by example.


Reason # 3: Expand Their World…One Food at a Time
Encourage your children to try new foods, without forcing, coercing, or bribing. Introduce a new food along with some of the stand-by favorites. Remember that it can take 8-10 exposures to a new food before it is accepted, so be patient. Trying a new food is like starting a new hobby. It expands your child’s knowledge, experience, and skill.

  • Include foods from other cultures and countries.
  • Select a new vegetable from a local farmer’s market.
  • Have your child select a new recipe from a cookbook, web site, newspaper, or magazine

Reason #4: Nourish
Meals prepared and eaten at home are usually more nutritious and healthy. They contain more fruits, vegetables, and dairy products along with additional nutrients such as fiber, calcium, vitamins A and C, and folate. Home cooked meals are usually not fried or highly salted, plus soda and sweetened beverage consumption is usually lower at the dinner table.


Reason #5: Become Self-Sufficient
Children today are missing out on the importance of knowing how to plan and prepare meals. Basic cooking, baking, and food preparation are necessities for being self-sufficient. Involve your family in menu planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation. Preschoolers can tear lettuce, cut bananas, and set the table. Older children can pour milk, peel vegetables, and mix batter. Teenagers can dice, chop, bake, and grill. Working as a team puts the meal on the table faster, as well as makes everyone more responsible and accepting of the outcome. Improved eating habits come with "ownership" of a meal.


Reason #6: Prevent Destructive Behaviors

Research shows that frequent family dinners (five or more a week), are associated with lower rates of smoking, drinking, and illegal drug use in pre-teens and teenagers when compared to families that eat together two or fewer times per week. Even as older children’s schedules get more complicated, it is important to make an effort to eat meals together. Scheduling is a must.

 
Reason #7: Improve Grades
Children do better in school when they eat more meals with their parents and family. Teenagers who eat dinner four or more times per week with their families have higher academic performance compared with teenagers who eat with their families two or fewer times per week.


Reason # 8: Save Money
Meals purchased away from home cost two to four times more than meals prepared at home. At present time the restaurant industry’s share of the total food dollar is more than 46%. Due to scheduling, commitments, and activities, families eat out several times each week.


It is time to bring the "family" back to the dinner table. Sharing dinner together gives everyone a sense of identity. It can help ease day-to-day conflicts, as well as establish traditions and memories that can last a lifetime.  I believe it is how God planned it to be and that is a good enough reason for me to make sure our family always eats together!

We are also ordering this book and will incorporate into our daily dinner talks!   I love that the recipes are from the countries our children are adopted from – we will find a way to make them all vegan and gluten free. 

What are your family dinner traditions?  Do you find ways to incorporate the bible, history or things they are learning during the day into your meal planning?

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1 comment:

  1. i love eating as a family....i really do believe it helps to expand my family's pallet. i now have a 2 year old eating lettuce and a 4 year old eating onions. i never in a million years thought that would happen.

    i usually don't serve my 2 year old new foods directly bc he will throw them..... lol....but i notice if he sees them on my plate, and not on his, he will steal them when i'm not looking....and usually continue to steal it until he has cleaned MY plate. i don't care right now bc it is getting him to try new things. then i can put it on his plate and he will eat it. this would never happen if i didn't sit down next to him. :)

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