5 Reasons Why Family Meals are Good for Parents Too

Eating together could benefit your physical and mental health.


Family, Parenting
A family eating together promotes health benefits.

(Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com)

It’s well known that kids benefit from eating dinner with their families. In fact, children who spend this quality time with their parents do better in school and have larger vocabularies. According to The Conversation, they also have lower rates of depression, anxiety and eat healthier diets. But what you may not know is that eating together as a family is beneficial to parents too.

The scientific health benefits of eating with others span all generations. A study found that unrelated adults, like firefighters, have better team performance when they cook and eat together during their shifts. And adults who eat alone are more likely to skip meals or eat badly so that they have reduced energy and poorer health. Breaking bread with others is good for your physical and mental  health.

If with today’s hectic schedules, dinner doesn’t work, you can do family breakfasts or weekend lunches. While it may seem like a challenge, HealthlinkBC suggests that you choose the meal that gives you the best opportunity to talk, connect, and reap these five benefits: 

Promotes Healthy Eating
The Conversation stressed that when adults, especially parents, dine together, they eat healthier home-cooked meals with portion control and more fruits and vegetables as they model good eating habits for their kids. Parents tend to dial back destructive behaviors like overeating or drinking and eat more mindfully when their children are watching. 

It’s Good For Mental Health
Researchers have found that family meals may lead to social and emotional wellbeing for parents including  lower levels of the symptoms of depression and stress. Parents who eat with their children also reported that their families functioned better. Family dinners give both adults and children a time to decompress. 

Builds Stronger Connections
When parents and kids eat together, they build stronger connections. HealthlinkBC stresses that families should turn off the TV, put away their cell phones and just have face-to-face conversations. Keep the conversations positive and encourage your kids to discuss their day. The more families communicate, the better their relationship will be. The only thing better than eating dinner together is following it with family game night

Includes Teachable Moments
Eating dinner together allows parents to teach lifelong skills like table manners and conversation etiquette and if you cook the meals together you teach your kids how to become independent adults. After all, your sons and daughters need to learn how to do more than just how to use a can opener. And having help around the kitchen is a big boost for working parents. 

Models Good Parenting Skills
Eating together as a family also models good parenting skills to your kids according to The Conversation. When teens grow up in homes that have regular family meals, they are far more likely to replicate that practice in their homes. A  study published in The Journal of Family Psychology, shows the relationship between the frequency of family meals a child ate with his or her parents and the number of meals they eat with their own children.

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