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The Benefits of Eating Together

The Family Who Eats Together Stays Together
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian

"Come and get it!" It may be dinnertime, but when was the last time your family sat down and enjoyed dinner together? With music lessons, ball practice, play rehearsal, and work schedules, it can be tough. Rounding up the troop for an evening meal can be almost impossible! However, research is beginning to show that eating as a family has great benefits for your children and teenagers. Here are 8 more reasons why you should try to sit down together 5-6 times a week, whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

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.

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Member Comments About this Article
"So glad to see this article! Growing up, my family always sat down at the table for dinner every night and had big breakfasts on the weekend. My sister and I did our homework at the dining room table before and after dinner. I have fond memories of 'helping' my mom set the table, clean up, etc. My parents still do it today even though it is just the two of them now. My husbby, on the other hand, came from a family whose parents separated when he was young. His mother was a successful busin..." -- CLCANTU12
article !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

i like it very much ,it is giving us the message of family bonding" -- S_VINCA
"I love eating as a family and it's so much easier since the kids reached 7, 8yrs and stayed up a bit later. We eat European style, nearer 7pm so hubby home to eat with us too.

Kids love cooking so great way of getting them interested in trying new food and then sitting down together to enjoy it! Well worth it and I'm always amazed how many friends don't do this and comment on how nice it must be! JUST DO IT, make a meal of it even for beans on toast! Enjoy:)" -- KRISTINHAYWARD
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About The Author
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. She teaches prenatal classes and counsels individuals, helping women eat right and stay fit before, during and after their pregnancies.
Becky Hand


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