CHRISTINE J. PATRICK
COUNTY EXTENSION AGENT
FAMILY MEALTIME: MORE THAN JUST A MEAL
Sitting down together to enjoy a family meal provides more than the food prepared. Benefits of sharing a meal include:
Connection – People of all ages eat better when meals are shared with family and friends. Any meal counts, not just dinner. The meal can be shared at home or on the go. Have lunch with a co-worker instead of eating alone, go to your local senior center to enjoy activities and a meal with others or have lunch with your child at school.
Emotional well-being – Children from families who eat meals together are less likely to be depressed or engage in risky behavior. Mealtime provides an opportunity for family members to share what’s happening in their daily lives. Make this a time for pleasant conversation.
Academic success – Children learn social skills such as taking turns and engaging in conversation. Their vocabulary increases and they learn how to express their ideas. This explains why children who eat family meals more often are found to do better in school.
Healthier eating habits and weight – Meals planned and prepared at home are normally more nutritious than meals eaten alone or on the run. More fruits and vegetables are served in meals made at home. Family meals are also associated with healthier weights in children and adults.
Tips for Family Meals
Family mealtime provides numerous benefits to family members. Personalize and plan meals to meet the needs and schedules of all family members. Make them a priority.
For more information, check out Clemson University’s Home and Garden Information Center website and look for fact sheets HGIC 4105, Making Mealtimes Pleasant or HGIC 4240, Quick Meals.
Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer
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