With restaurants closing and people staying at home more often this year, it’s safe to say family meals have changed for most. Many people have engaged in a lot more family meals, while those living alone might be experiencing less family meals due to social distancing. One thing remains unchanged: family meals are still important.
This Family Meals Month (#FamilyMealsMonth), we’re encouraging you to join the conversation and “pledge to have one more meal together, at home, per week.” (FMI.org.) Here’s why we’re recommending to either start or continue making meals together a priority.
Eating more meals at home has a vast array of benefits:
- Young children who eat more meals at home show developmental boosts. At meal time toddlers learn language skills, practice their dexterity, and develop prosocial behavior like sharing, manners, and respect.
- The more family meals shared, the less likely teens are to show signs of depression and suicide, and abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Eating at home means eating more nutritiously. Not only are home-cooked meals generally healthier, children who eat with their families tend to have a greater intake of fruits and vegetables in their diet overall.
- Frequent family meals are associated with better academic performance. Kids who eat with their family less than three times a week are twice as likely to report C grades or lower.
- Children who eat regular family meals have a decreased risk of obesity into their adult years. Adults who eat at home are also less likely to struggle with obesity.
- Family meals strengthen family bonding with improved communication and an increased sense of belonging.
- Eating at home saves you money! One sample estimated a family of four could save $40 a week, per person, by eating meals at home.
Harmons associates have noticed benefits to eating at home with their own families!
These benefits apply to any meal! If dinner doesn’t work for your family, try out breakfast or lunch. Studies show we can reap the most benefit from sharing at least four meals together a week. If this seems unrealistic for you right now, start with having one more meal together per week than you currently have, and go from there. For the greatest reward, turn towards conversation instead of TV, and foster a supportive and loving environment around the dinner table rather than one of criticism and argument.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, have you experienced “cooking-at-home fatigue,” as one of our Harmons Traverse associates called it? We totally get it. Lucky for you, Harmons offers daily dinner deals for a fresh, delicious meal you can confidently bring home to your family. Plus, this family meals month we will be posting a simple recipe each week to help you reignite your “cooking-at-home flame.”
We know 2020 has been a tough year. It can be difficult to find the motivation to set goals. To those who feel burdened by wrangling picky toddlers or uncooperative teens to the dinner table: keep trying. To those who are skeptical a screaming child at a dinner table is even beneficial: keep trying, the benefits will come. To those who haven’t yet made family meals a priority: try it out, You may be surprised to see some positive changes within your family. The overwhelming benefits of family meals just might be worth it all.