Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. — Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.
What timeless words of wisdom!
More recently, researchers at Rutgers University conducted a Meta study looking at 68 studies that examined the relationship between family meals, eating habits, and children’s health. Specifically, they wanted to know if there was a correlation between family meals and obesity.
Interestingly, because so many of the studies outcomes were in general agreement, it makes sense to keep them in mind. The data suggests that family mealtime does indeed have a wealth of benefits, especially for children.
When families make mealtimes more of a priority, they tend to pay more attention to what is served. Children who have more family meals get more of the nutrient-rich foods that build strong bodies and smart brains: more fruits, veggies, lean meats, and low-fat milk; fewer fried foods and soft drinks.
Additionally, researchers found that the quality time spent together during a family meal helps build relationships as well as foster healthy eating habits such as eating slowly, enjoying a variety of foods, and stopping when comfortably satisfied rather than overstuffed.
Remember, the research does not promise if your family eats together your children will be magically perfect; it is the sharing between family members that is important.
Make as many family meals as possible a priority. By making some healthy and realistic goals you have a plan for success. How?
Step 1: Get Ready
Involve all family members in the planning by allowing each person a chance to talk about their food preferences.
Step 2: Plan the main courses
Plan for a week the foods your family enjoys, your budget, the time you have to prepare it as well as nutrition.
Step 3: Stock the kitchen with staples
Stocking the pantry, refrigerator and freezer with essential ingredients makes it easy to prepare a quick and tasty meal.
Step 4: Make the cooking easy
Family meals do not have to be a formal dinner. Try strategies that work for you to spend less time preparing and more time enjoying a family meal.
Example: Save preparation time using ready-to-eat fresh vegetables or salads.
Make family mealtimes a normal part of your family life. This very simple activity can help to sustain a family’s health and culture, connect each generation to each other at the same time providing indispensable life skills, as well as the deeply rooted satisfaction in making something with your own family’s hands.
Try these websites for quick an easy family friendly recipes.